YMCA of East Tennessee

Knoxville Aquatic Alliance

According to a national study sponsored by the American Red Cross, more than 50% of Americans cannot swim or demonstrate basic skills such as returning to the surface after jumping into deep water and treading water for one minute. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note in a 2001 study that accidental drowning primarily occurs in locations where no lifeguard is present.

With this project, we plan to establish an aquatic alliance in Knoxville, significantly increasing the number of residents who can swim, as well as the number of trained lifeguards and certified swim instructors, establishing a sustainable cycle of high-quality aquatic safety and swimming instruction. Our target population will be school-age children and teens; however, socio-economic barriers disproportionality affect minorities and we will work to eliminate this disparity.

If awarded a grant, we will be able to create an aquatic alliance of stakeholders including Knox County schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Urban League, Emerald Youth Foundation, Tennessee Aquatics, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, local marinas, and city and county park staff, and others to design a program that will benefit our target population. The purpose of the alliance will be to build upon resources already present in our community to significantly expand water safety instruction, as well as the number of trained lifeguards and swim instructors. We will also invest in lifeguard training for teens 16 years and older, whose families could not otherwise afford this training for their children.