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How Cold is Too Cold When it Comes to Swimming?

So, here is a question, how cold is too cold when it comes to swimming?


I got stuck on this question last night after learning about Robert Moses (king of parks and master builder of the mid-20th century). Being a swimmer himself, Moses placed an emphasis on public pools throughout New York city. To encourage white attendance, Moses devised a policy to keep the water temperature in the pools low, in the belief that black people were less tolerant of cold water – another example of policy to deny Blacks the opportunity to swim.

Why am I sharing this? Because in the United States, Black children drown at a rate 5x that of White children. Yet, we have convinced ourselves that this is not our problem. (hint: systemic racism is alive and well).


This morning, I went for a swim at Devil’s Lake (59 F) to challenge Moses's stereotype and to reflect on my privilege (the fact that I have access to pools and supportive coaches). I survived the swim – in fact, enjoyed it! I discovered that I need to learn how to swim on a straight line, other than that, it was 2.1 miles of pure awesomeness.


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