Exclusive Sigma Gamma Rho Swim Clinic A Great Success At AT&T Winter Nationals
Ladies from the southeastern region of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority were treated to an exclusive swim clinic on the second day of the 2013 AT&T Winter National Championships. The clinic was hosted by title sponsor AT&T and led by Olympian and first African-American woman to make the National Team and medal, Maritza Correia.
Correia, who is also a Sigma Gamma Rho Soror, led the group of twenty-six women in basic swim skills in the diving pool of the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. At seventeen feet in depth, some women were intimidated, but with the aid of USA Swimming staff and several lifeguards, they got into the water and gave their best efforts to overcome fears and learn new skills.
“One thing that’s great about swimming is that when you know how to do it, you can swim in any depth of water,” Maritza said to the ladies as they held on to the side. “If you can swim in seventeen feet, you can swim in three feet or fifty feet.”
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and USA Swimming have had a partnership since 2012, focused on increasing swim opportunities for black women and helping to strengthen the culture of diversity and inclusion in the sport. Past Grand Basileus, Joann Loveless, who signed the partnership into existence with USA Swimming executives, flew in from California to participate in the clinic despite a deep fear of water.
Local media affiliates of NBC, CBS, and ABC were on deck to interview Correia and several Sorors to get their take on the partnership and their experiences.
“You have to lead by example,” she said to the media in attendance. “I can’t expect this partnership to succeed if I’m not capable of getting in the water and showing that I’m committed to our shared goals of increasing swim opportunities and decreasing drowning rates in our communities.”
With varying skill levels, the women were split into three groups, allowing them to have specialized instruction. Every woman was able to overcome their fear and leave the wall, kicking or floating in the middle of the deep pool.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Rhonda Marable, Multicultural PR Manager for USA Swimming and the manager of the partnership. “I was so glad the deep water didn’t deter them. They got right in and proved that fear, among other things, does not have to keep black women from getting in the water.”
Participants in the clinic were also treated to bags full of product donated by USA Swimming sponsors. AT&T provided towels and swim bags, TYR donated swim suits and goggles, while CeraVe sent the women home with a sampling of various AMBI skin-care products.