Metropolitan Swimming - Diversity and Inclusion Page
Last update: 10-31-2013

Metropolitan Diversity Liaison:  John Yearwood  -  email:

October 31, 2013
New Eastern Zone Diversity & Inclusion web page

June 26, 2013
2013 Eastern Zone Diversity Summit
June 20-23, 2013 in Boston, MA at Northeastern University
26 athletes and 18 coaches/chairs from across the Eastern Zone and representatives from USA Swimming came together in Boston for the 2nd Annual Eastern Zone Summit to discuss the current state and future of diversity and inclusion within the Eastern Zone.

With Metro being the largest LSC in attendance, our participation and lead in the discussions was vital. Stephanie Lai (NYCC) and Evan Zhang (GATE) were the Metro athletes. Elliot Ptasnik (MAKO - Metro Diversity Chair) and Jeff Chen (LGAC – Coach) were part of the roundtable discussions and swim workouts.

Summary of the 2013 Eastern Zone Diversity Summit

February 19, 2013
Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh in collaboration with Devilfish
Aquatics to offer underprivileged kids swim lessons at no cost
Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of childhood accidental death. In addition, ten people drown each day in the U.S. However, participation in formal swim lesson can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%.

A 2010 study commissioned by the USA Swimming Foundation and conducted by the University of Memphis found that nearly 70% of African American children and nearly 60% of Hispanic children have low or no swim ability, compared to 40% of Caucasians, putting them at risk for drowning.

Because of these statistics, Devilfish Aquatics and Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh collaborated to offer free and low-cost swimming lessons in an effort to reverse these trends. Steve Dwek, Director of the Union Avenue Fitness Center was very supportive of the collaboration and offered the use of his facility for the program. All children are at risk of drowning but the majority of the children that this program serves are minority children who have been found to be more at risk.

The program consists of twenty-two, 40 minute sessions, supervised by Valerie and Darren Bryant and managed by Lauren Lubarsky. Lauren has eight years of experience working with students and teaching swim lessons. She is a Devilfish Aquatics level 2 swim coach. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. She is certified in Water Safety Instruction and has managed the aquatics program at the Union Avenue Community Fitness Center.

Kevin White, the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh was happy to partner in this venture as he is looking to bring new, exciting and healthy activities to the four hundred Newburgh children served by the club.

The Devilfish Aquatics Swim Club and the Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh share a common goal of saving lives and getting kids more fit. We are doing this together by expanding awareness about the importance of water safety, the need to learn to swim and by making the Devilfish Aquatics services more visible in the community.

In addition, Ethan Fergus, head coach of the Devilfish Aquatics swim team is certain that there will be children that pass through the lesson program that show promise and have the skills and ability to join the swim team.

“We have an amazing time in the water and I wish we could come every day,” stated sixth grade Temple Hill Academy student Allegra Walker. Allegra joins twenty nine other children from The After School Projects at Temple Hill and the Boys & Girls Club locations every Friday for their water time. Devilfish Aquatics is a year round competitive swim club offering high quality professional coaching and technique instruction for all ages and abilities. The goal of the club is to provide every member an opportunity to improve swimming skills and achieve success at his or her level of ability, from novice to international competitor.

All of the coaches, as members of the American Swimming Coaches Association and USA Swimming, have access to the most comprehensive training and certification program for youth coaches of any sport in the United States. The coaching staff will ensure that the time each child spends in the pool, whether through the lesson program or training for competition, will be of the utmost quality.

Devilfish Aquatics Swim Club is a nonprofit club, run by an elected Board of Directors, headed by Valerie Bryant. They have been around for over thirty years. The swim team practices out of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie and the Union Ave Fitness Center in New Windsor. For more information please visit their website,

June 20, 2011
2011 Eastern Zone Diversity Camp at LaSalle University in Philidelphia
This past weekend the Eastern Zone held it's first ever Zone Diversity Camp. There were a total of 24 athletes that attended the 4-day camp held at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. Metro was represented by swimmers MariaJose Oceguera and Danielle Fergus. Ethan Fergus attended the camp also while John Yearwood was apart of the coaching staff.

The purpose of the camp was to instill a vision of success and inspire athletes from ethnically underrepresented populations to become leaders in the sport of swimming.

Goals: To empower athletes from ethnically underrepresented populations and their coaches to:

    - Demonstrate the viability of multicultural success in swimming
    - Achieve performance excellence at every level of the sport
    - Expound the benefits and value of participating in the sport of swimming
    - Assist in recruiting more swimmers and coaches from diverse ethnicities to the sport of swimming
    - Be positive leaders and role models that others from multicultural backgrounds can emulate.

The 3-day camp program included a combination of pool training, motivational and education sessions, and team building activities.

The swimmers and the coaches all enjoyed their experiences at the Diversity Camp and look forward to heading back to their teams and sharing their experiences.


April 16, 2011
Eastern Zone Diversity Select Camp - June 16-19, 2011
Purpose: Celebrate the opportunities of/for diversity in swimming in the Eastern Zone through inspiration of athletes, coaches and volunteers. Create local ambassadors and leaders to grow our sport.

Goals: Empower athletes from ethnically under represented populations and their coaches to:
1. Demonstrate the viability of multicultural success in swimming within their local LSC
2. Achieve performance excellence throughout the sport
3. Introduce the benefits and value of participating in the sport of swimming
4. Develop positive leaders and role models that others from multicultural backgrounds can emulate
5. Connect, network and promote the virtues of the sport of swimming through a comprehensive strategy involving the athletes, coaches and LSC Diversity Chairs in their own local LSCs and throughout the Eastern Zone.

Place: La Salle University. Athletes, coaches and volunteers will be housed in campus dorms. Meals will be catered on-site by the school

Date: June 16-19, 2011. Athletes will arrive Thursday (June 16) late afternoon/ evening and depart Sunday (June 19) morning

Invitees: two athletes from each of the 12 LSCs in the Eastern Zone - one coach from each LSC

Qualifications: Athletes must have qualified in at least one individual event in their local LSC championship meet in either SCY or LC seasons. In the event that there are no qualifying swimmers, the LSC can elect to send two athletes of its choice

Questions: email Ray Willie at

Camp Schedule: The two day camp program will include a combination of pool training, motivational and educational sessions, networking and strategic planning sessions for members of each LSC, and team building activities. If interested please fill out  application  and return by May 10th to the address on the application

April 14, 2011
Outreach Clinic with the New York City Parks and Recreation Aquatics Program, April 3
On April 3rd Metropolitan Swimming hosted their first outreach clinic with the NYC Parks and recreation aquatics program. The day was a huge success for all involved. One hundred and twenty swimmers and their fifty coaches had an experience that will last them a lifetime. I would like to personally thank all the coaches, officials, parents and swimmers who helped make this day a great success. John Hutchins from the city aquatics program could not have been happier with our staff and their professionalism. We had Anthony Ervin who donated his time for the day and gave the kids a great instruction in freestyle. We truly appreciate all he has done for metropolitan swimming and its outreach efforts. He is a member of our swimming family and he has truly dedicated himself to the sport of swimming. The children of the NYC aquatics program could not stop smiling and having fun. Metropolitan swimming would also like to thank Hobie swim for donating beautiful drawstring bags for all the kids. Lastly we would like to thank Eduardo Urreta and Verizon wireless for their very generous sponsorship. Without their help we would not have been able to run such an amazing event. Metropolitan swimming continues to support diversity in the sport of swimming and thanks all who helped make this day a success.

Bio for Anthony Ervin:  Anthony Ervin is an Olympic Gold medalist, 2x World Champion, and former World and American record holder in the sprint freestyle events - all feats accomplished by the time he was 20 years old. Anthony is culturally distinguished - through the socially constructed American phenomenon of race - as the first US Olympic swimmer of African-American descent. After a rapid rise to the peaks of competitive swimming, Anthony walked away from the sport he had invested his entire childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, to come-of-age on his own terms, and to explore avenues of culture and society as a young adult with unfettered freedom. His journey led him across the country, from the San Francisco Bay Area to the boroughs of New York City, where he rediscovered his passion for swimming through the teaching of young people at the Imagine School of Swimming. So inspired was he as an educator, that Anthony returned to the University of California at Berkeley to finish his degree and launch immediately into graduate school where he currently studies the culture of sport and its role in our education.

Metro Diversity Camp - 4/3/2011

Metro Diversity Camp - 4/3/2011 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Anthony Ervin talking to swimmers and volunteers

Metro Diversity Camp - 4/3/2011

Metro Diversity Camp - 4/3/2011

Metro Diversity Camp - 4/3/2011

Metro Diversity Camp - 4/3/2011

Metro Diversity Camp - 4/3/2011

Metro Diversity Camp - 4/3/2011 2011 Diversity Camp Coaching staff and volunteers

Metropolitan Swimming Diversity Goals
1.  Develop a program to reimburse Outreach Athletes for meet entry fees

2.  Have all qualified clubs submit applications for all of their eligible athletes to participate in the National Diversity Select Camp

3.  Run Diversity Camps in at least three different localities within the LSC

Outreach membership offers qualified individuals the opportunity to become a USA Swimming year-round athlete member at a reduced fee. The national fee for outreach membership is $5. Metropolitan Swimming has waived its fee. The outreach form must be filled out and submitted with the necessary documentation to the club's registration person.

Disadvantaged / Minority Athlete Application

USA Swimming Diversity Select Camp Information

Time Standards for 2011 Diversity Campr

How do we as a swim club or parent increase Diversity in the sport of swimming?
So what can we do?

Get involved, be active and promote the sport of swimming. We can all go through life never picking up a baseball bat or lacrosse stick. However never learning how to swim can have serious consequences.

Just take a look at the statistics.

•  Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children between the age of one and 14
(Centers for Disease Control, 2003)

•  Nine people drown in the United States every day (Centers for Disease Control)

•  Two-thirds of all drawings occur between May and August (Orange County California Fire Authority)

•  Approximately 75% of child drawings occur, because of a lapse of adult supervision of less than five minutes.

•  African-American children between the ages of five and 19 are 2.6 times more likely to drown than Caucasian
children in the same age group (Centers for Disease Control, 2003)

•  In the swimming pool, African-American boys, between the ages of 5-19 are 12-15 times more likely to drown than their Caucasian
peers (National Institute of Health, 2001)

•  Less than 1% of the USA Swimming nearly 300,000 members are African-American, and less than 3% are Hispanic

So here are some suggestions for you your team or your friends

1.   Take the first step and find a place to learn to swim, and then help every member of your family to become safe in the water.
Find a Swim Lesson

2.   Create the opportunity for an at-risk child to learn to swim by sponsoring a swim lesson. Donate today

3.   Run a Catch the Spirit camp at your facility. Here are some ideas for your camp. Ladies night out, Diversity, drowning prevention
or any idea you can come up with

4.   Introduce swimming as a regular part of your exercise routine

5.   Download the Make-a-Splash In School materials and teach your kids and their classmates about water safety

6.   Find and join a learn-to-swim or competitive swim program at any of 2,700 USA Swimming clubs across the country. offers a searchable database of programs

7.   Download the USA Swimming Water Watcher Card for your next pool party or social gathering, to ensure that a responsible
adult always has an eye on the pool

8.   Talk about the program and encourage others to get involved

9.  Nominate your “local hero” on the Make-a-Splash web site

Here are some links to help you get involved

•  Diversity in swimming study

•  USA Swimming Diversity Page

•  Swim Strong Foundation

•  Make a Splash Local Partners

•  Marriott Dives in -- Marriott becomes Official Hotel Sponsor of USA Swimming -- Book online now!