Olympic swimmer gives lessons to Sigma Gamma Rho members

Olympic swimmer gives lessons to Sigma Gamma Rho members

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Members of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority received special swimming lessons. Members of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority received special swimming lessons.
The women learned basic swimming techniques that could save their lives. The women learned basic swimming techniques that could save their lives.
Olympic swimmer Maritza McClendon conducted the lessons. Olympic swimmer Maritza McClendon conducted the lessons.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - An Olympic medalist made a stop on the UT campus to give members of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority swimming lessons Friday.

Members of the sorority visited the campus for the special coaching session from across the country.

Maritza McClendon, the first African American swimmer to make the US Olympic Team and win a medal, coached the girls as part of AT&T's Winter National Championship activities.      

The sorority partnered with AT&T to hold water safety classes for its members. McClendon says she hopes these lessons will help save lives.

"The drowning rate among African Americans is extremely high. It's about 3 times higher than that of Caucasians. So it's all about getting these ladies in the water and comfortable and learning the water can be their friend, and it's all about water safety and making sure they're okay. And if anything happens, they can save their lives," McClendon said.

McClendon is also former American record holder in the 50 and 100 yard free styles.

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