In celebration of National Drowning Prevention Month, Agnes Davis, creator of swim swim swim I SAY, traveled to Atlanta to spread awareness about how to prevent drowning.
After Davis was wrongfully terminated from her job as a cardiovascular perfusionist at a well-known hospital in New York, she decided it was time to tread new waters in her career path. Advertising executive Donny Deutsch’s appearance on the “Today” show became a ray of hope for Davis after watching him discuss the subject of entrepreneurship.
“I heard Donny say to do something you love, make a niche, and the rest will come. I instantly knew this was my time to make things happen,” says Davis.
She began researching swimming companies all throughout the United States and noticed a lack of female minority owned businesses in the market. To make matters worse, she discovered the high minority drowning rates when diving deeper into the statistics. “I am a swimmer that had been doing this for a long time, so this was foreign to me. Unfortunately this was one of the biggest components of my research, which scared me to no end,” says Davis.
With only 30 percent of the African American community knowledgeable about how to swim, Davis felt it was imperative that she launch her business, swim swim swim I SAY. After starting out with just three clients, six successful years later she has trained over 100 students, including autistic children that many programs turn down due to the level of difficulty it takes to teach them. “They are phenomenal. People have misconceptions about people who have autism. It may be a little rough for them in the beginning but they do learn how to swim.” says Davis.
Davis recalled being bold and outgoing as a child, admitting she was never hesitant about jumping into the water. She couldn’t even remember a time when she didn’t know how to swim. At a very young age, Davis’ older sister became her first swimming instructor in Long Island, New York. Having learned how to swim early on she knew it was only right that she open her classes for children starting at the age of 3, in small classes to better assist them with the process.
Swim swim swim I SAY continues to grow because of the company’s outreach to people from all backgrounds.
Here, she shares five tips to water safety:
1) Don’t panic. Floating on one’s back and treading water are great survival techniques; this allows the swimmer to conserve energy and be in a position to signal for help.
2) Don’t dive into water. It’s dangerous since you can’t determine the depth of the water, and accidents can happen, including serious spinal injury when diving into shallow water..
3) Trust the help. Lifeguards are an important part of water safety. Only swim where lifeguards are present.
4) Get a buddy. Swimming is more fun when you have a partner, please don’t swim alone.
5) Invest in lessons. Swimming lessons, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are the best prevention against drowning.
For information on taking swim classes with Agnes Davis, check out her website at www.swimswimswimisay.com, and follow her Facebook and Twitter. –lauren martinez