The British exclusively swam breaststroke in competition until the 19th century. In 1844, a Native American came to London and won a competition swimming front crawl, a stroke never seen by the Western world, who then regarded it as “un-European”.
MIT students must pass a swim test to graduate. The director of phys ed said swimming is “…a self-survival skill. Research shows that most drownings occur in families where parents don’t know how to swim.” The test requires you to swim 100 yards. It used to be 200 yards, the width of the Charles River, but then someone realized if you fell in the river, you’d only have to swim at most half the width.
Europeans traditionally swam the breaststroke, while Native Americans swam the front crawl. When two Native Americans won an 1844 swimming competition in England, newspapers criticized their barbaric, “un-European” form. Europeans refused to use the faster front crawl for decades.
70% of African-American children and 58% of Hispanic children do not know how to swim. As the result, African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than white children.
The Centers for Disease Control said that 37% of American adults can’t swim 24 yards, which is the length of a typical recreation-center swimming pool.
If tuna stops swimming, it sinks.