Study Shows A Large Number of Children Can't Swim - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Study Shows A Large Number of Children Can't Swim

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PASCO, Wash.-- Swimming classes in Pasco pools started this week. A yearly Summer routine for many parents.

"She was about four years old, so she's been coming for quite a while," said Elida Lemos, a mother at Memorial Pool in Pasco.

But not all kids get started early. Just last month the Department of Health and Sports Science at the University of Memphis released a study showing many children can't swim.

Out of almost 2,000 kids ages 6 to16, 31% were White. 56% were Hispanic and 60% were African American.

At pools in Pasco, lifeguards say the numbers depend most times on the area.

"We do see a lot of African Americans on Kurtzman on the East side of Pasco, and there are some here as well, but not a huge number," said Ashlee Hall, Pool Manager at Memorial Pool in Pasco.

Ashlee Hall has been a lifeguard for seven years. She says swimming classes fill up quickly with children from different backgrounds.

"We don't really have like a certain race that can't swim, it really varies, I think the percentage is about even," said Hall.

This study also says one of the reasons why many kids can't swim depends on whether or not their parents are able to. But some parents have their own reasons.

"You know if you're working it's hard to bring your kids to the swimming pool, you have to be able to stay home in the summer to take them if it's in the morning or in the afternoon, lots of parents can't do that," said Lisa Montelongo, another mother at Memorial Pool in Pasco.