University of Tennessee Senior Is the First African American to Win a National Diving Championship

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that black children are three times as likely to drown as white children. And a survey by USA Swimming found that 58 percent of black children cannot swim, compared with 31 percent of white children.

Efforts to encourage the sport of swimming among African Americans got a major boost when Cullen Jones, an African American, teamed up with Michael Phelps as part of the four-man freestyle relay team that won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Jones was the second African American to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.

Now another barrier has fallen. Michael Wright, a senior at the University of Tennessee, recently won the 1-meter springboard title at the USA Diving Winter National Championships. He is the first African American in history to be a national diving champion.