...he suffered from what he calls Bl-aquaphobia, a word he coined to describe the inherent fear black people have of water – a fear that’s “very, very different” from their white counterparts, he says.
“With white people, it’s usually to do with something that’s happened – ‘I fell into the water, there was an accident’, something like that. But there are a lot of black people, myself included, that have aquaphobia and don’t even know it.”
Except Nigeria, where there's quite a big swimming culture, apparently...
Sayso, a musician, who wrote the soundtrack to the film, is one of the few young people in the community who admits to liking swimming but that’s only because he grew up in Nigeria where, he says, it was a common activity.
So why isn't it here, since it compounds risk?
According to Swim England, the sport’s governing body, 95% of black adults and 80% of black children in England do not swim, and only 2% of regular swimmers are black.
It’s an alarming statistic that has life-threatening implications, Accura says, with black children three times more likely to drown than white children.
Wait a minute, though! How do they drown? In the bath? Because if they really did suffer from 'aquaphobia' they wouldn't enter the water in the first place, would they?
But back to why it's a UK issue. Well, would you Adam and Eve it!? Of course, it's 'racism'.
The cultural barriers to swimming – from Afro hair to dry skin, to worrying about the myth that black people have heavier bones – are born of institutional and systemic inequalities that you see right across the aquatic industry, says Danielle Obe, founding member of the Black Swimming Association, a charity which launched last year to tackle the lack of diversity in swimming.
Yes, of course. When is it ever anything else?
“Our community perceives swimming as a white man’s sport. Why? Because that’s what they see!” Obe says, arguing that it’s the same messaging you see whether it’s the Swimming Teachers’ Association or The Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
She points to swim caps as a case in point – they were designed by Speedo 50 years ago for Caucasian hair, “but they don’t work for us because our hair grows up and defies gravity”.
To encourage her own children to swim, Obe designed a waterproof wraparound scarf – and has been touting it around manufacturers in the hope that one might develop it. They showed no interest.
“The perception is they don’t swim anyway, so why should we bother?”, Obe says.
So why don't you form your own manufacturing company?
“We have to do something for our community,” she says. “It can no longer be that swimming is not part of our culture.”
Whose culture? It certainly seems to be part of the culture in other majority black countries...