NSEA Swim Foundation Receives Grant Funding for Summer Swim Programming

Live Oak Bank, Surfrider Foundation, and North Carolina Community Foundation Support Swimclusion 2021

The NSEA Swim Foundation is pleased to announce the receipt of grant funding for the Swimclusion 2021 program from one local corporation and two North Carolina foundations. With these monetary donations, NSEA Swim can provide programs that are more inclusive, as well as programs that increase water safety and prevent unnecessary drowning in our community.

Live Oak Bank

On June 11, 2021, Live Oak Bank announced a donation for $29,000 to the NSEA Swim Foundation to run the Swimclusion 2021 Summer Program. The Wilmington-based Bank was one of NSEA Swim’s initial supporters when NSEA Swim was forming its swim lessons program and has helped fund the group’s growth. Live Oak Bank’s grant will continue to fund inclusive swim confidence programming throughout the year and allow NSEA Swim to extend and open the Earl Jackson pool full time for community use during the summer.

“We are excited to have this special opportunity from Live Oak Bank to not only continue to share water safety and swim confidence with our community, but also share the joy of swimming and summer fun with children and families,” said Thomas Hill, NSEA Swim Board member.

The Surfrider Foundation

On July 7, 2021, the Surfrider Foundation announced a $5,000 grant donation to the NSEA Swim Foundation to fund an additional instructor at the Northside’s Earl Jackson pool this summer. The Surfrider Foundation Cape Fear Chapter is partnering with NSEA Swim to provide free swim lessons to prepare for safe and fun learning on, in, and about the ocean. The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network. Surfrider hopes to facilitate surf lessons and ecological education for children and adults who might not otherwise have access to them.

Maia Dery, the local Surfrider Chair of Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Surf JEDI) said, “The ocean is a place where people can find solace, empowerment, and unending waves of fun! We in the Cape Fear region have some work to do to overcome the legacy of historical barriers to water-based recreation. The Cape Fear Chapter is looking for ways to make our local beaches safe, welcoming, and accessible to our entire community.”

By partnering with NSEA Swim, Dery said, the Surfrider Foundation can ensure people are water-safe before entering the ocean. NSEA Swim and Surfrider plan to expand this partnership in the next year.

The North Carolina Community Foundation – 1898 Memorial Fund

On July 9, 2021, the NSEA Swim Foundation received a $2,210 grant as support from the 1898 Memorial Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation. The 1898 Memorial Fund supports race relations work in the Cape Fear region. NSEA Swim received the grant based on our work to increase diversity in the Wilmington swim community and provide free swim lessons to youth and adults.

“NSEA Swim is honored by the 1898 Memorial Fund recognition of our work in race relations,” said Dr. Philip Brown, NSEA Swim Board Vice President, and Chief Community Impact Officer at Novant Health. “In the beginning, we launched our group with the intent of increasing multicultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in the sport of swimming. By creating a safe, supportive environment where all people belonged, we made a statement of belief that neither the color of a person’s skin nor any other physical characteristics should stand in the way of learning to swim and being safe around the water.”

“Through this important work,” Brown continued, “we realized how new and deep relationships among diverse groups of people were enriching us all in immeasurable ways. This once small program has turned into a movement that sets a shining example of humanity at its finest, in a community where we still have much healing to do.”

NSEA Swim is a USA-Swimming affiliated competitive swim club and nonprofit that donates its time, skills, and pool facilities toward drowning prevention and water safety in our community. Although no child can ever be water safe, the goal is to make children in our community safer through a three-step process. Step One is to educate the community on the importance of swim lessons. Step Two is to increase participation by offering quality swim lessons to every child in the community at no cost. Step Three is to align with community partners to share the message of water safety.

For more information about NSEA Swim, contact Lisa Hill, NSEA Swim Director of Communications, at

NSEA Swim Receives 2021 Grant Funding From

USA Swimming Foundation

Grant supports efforts to offer free or reduced-cost swim lessons

NSEA Swim was chosen as one of 67 from the USA Swimming Foundation’s nationwide network of swim lesson providers to receive grant money in early 2021. The grant award will go toward NSEA Swim’s continued efforts to provide free or reduced-cost swim lessons. The USA Swimming Foundation has awarded a total of $507,618 to programs across the country who will provide swim lessons to an estimated 13,800 children.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding to use toward developing our swim programming for the community,” said Dave Witmer, Board President. “NSEA Swim has plans to teach 200 individuals basic water safety this year, and this grant award will help us reach this goal.”

Operating since 2018, NSEA Swim is a 501(c)3 nonprofit in Wilmington, NC, that conducts year-round swim lessons in the Earl Jackson pool in Wilmington. NSEA Swim continues to expand its reach in the community to save lives through lessons and water safety programming. The group also is actively working on increasing multicultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in the sport of swimming with an inclusive environment at all levels of the sport. Currently, NSEA Swim’s competitive swim team is one of the most diverse swim teams in North Carolina.

The USA Swimming Foundation vetted 243 applications through a competitive annual review process and chose 67 programs to receive funding.

“It’s an incredible feeling to know that USA Swimming Foundation funding will be used to create a valuable swimming experience for thousands of children who may not have had the opportunity to learn how to swim,” Scott Usher, Director of Development for the USA Swimming Foundation said. “We are thrilled with the depth of this year’s swim lesson provider applicant pool and we couldn’t be prouder to support these life-saving opportunities for children across the country. We owe a tremendous thank you to our partners and donors who continue to make a difference in our mission of saving lives and building champions.”

Millions of children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation’s network of swim lesson providers, comprised of more than 1,500 qualified lesson providers across the nation. Since 2007, more than $6 million has been awarded in learn-to-swim grants. To learn more, visit

For a full list of 2021 USA Swimming Foundation grant recipients or to donate to the Foundation, please visit

Based on the new State of North Carolina guidance for mandatory masks, we want to pass on NSEA Swim’s new health and safety policy for practices.

NSEA Swim Mandatory Mask Policy:

1. Swimmers must wear masks while waiting in line to get into the pool facility. They can remove their masks when they put their swim bag on the pool deck and move into their spot in the pool. When swimmers grab their bags to leave the pool area, they will put masks back on.

2. Any in-person dryland practice will require all participants to wear masks until they are at least six feet apart from each other. Coaches will also need to wear masks until they are at least six feet from participants.

3. Coaches will wear masks on the pool deck when interacting with swimmers. They can remove their masks once they are able to maintain at least six feet of distance between each other and when swimmers enter the water.

4. Parents of swimmers are required to wear masks if interacting with each other during practice times. If parents can maintain at least six feet of distance between each other and are in an outside area, they can remove their masks. Once swimmers are done practicing, parents will need to put masks back on.

Our number one priority is keeping your children safe and healthy, and we want you to feel comfortable when you bring them to practice. Thank you for adhering to our safety guidelines!

NSEA Swim's William Forbes Creates Passion Project with Voyage

William Forbes, a member of the NSEA Swim Sea Devils, just fulfilled a passion. He worked with Voyage, a nonprofit in the Northside neighborhood of Wilmington, to create a raised garden in the Northside neighborhood.

William is passionate about addressing food security and contributing toward efforts to provide equitable access to healthy food to this neighborhood. For the last two weeks of school, William, a third grade student at Cape Fear Center for Inquiry, was assigned to do a passion project for school. His goal was to learn or do something in which he was deeply interested.

Beth Forbes, William's mother, said, "In our house, remote learning has been filled with carpentry and gardening. He asked Voyage if he could build a garden for them to complete his project."

The Northside is located in what's known as a food desert, an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food. His project was to build a second raised garden bed from the ground up so that local neighbors could have easy access to produce. Voyage will also be able to use the produce to provide free healthy cooking and nutrition workshops.

Voyage's Director Genna Wirth said, "William showed true leadership skills and led some of our Voyagers in building a second garden bed outside of the Hemenway Center."

"We met the Forbes family through our partnership with NSEA Swim last summer, and like many others in the NSEA Swim family, the Forbes have consistently jumped to get involved with Voyage any chance they got." She went on to thank William and his sister Abby and mother Beth for always supporting the community.

Voyage is an nonprofit organization that operates under the mission of connecting youth with pathways to success.Their ultimate goal is to create a sustainable replicable model that ensures the development of strong, self-sufficient families within communities that value and nurture our children and youth and fully prepare them for lifelong success.

NSEA Swim Contest: Swimmers Reenacting Pool Activities at Home

NSEA Swim hosted a fun contest for its swim groups -- reenact the swimming experience from home. Our competitive swimmers submitted a variety of videos and photos. View the winners below. A big thank you to all the swimmers for the creativity and hard work!


1st Place

Olivia King

Sallie Brown.mp4

2nd Place

Sallie Brown


3rd Place

Emmie Backman

NSEA Swim Issues Guidance on COVID-19

NSEA Swim has been monitoring the COVID-19 event, and we will continue to assess our operational needs as conditions change and we react to federal, state, and local recommendations. Following are changes we are implementing immediately:

Swim Team

Based on the current COVID-19 health situation, North Carolina Emergency Operations Center (NC EOC) has mandated that all pools close effective March 25. As a result, NSEA Swim will discontinue swim team until the NC EOC determines it is safe to return.

Swim Meets

All USA Swimming-sanctioned events have been cancelled or postponed. We will update the website when we are allowed to schedule long-course meets.

The Pool Facility

We are following CDC guidelines on cleaning, hygiene, and social distancing to limit risk of exposure. As guidelines change with the evolution of the virus, we will communicate any changes. If you are in a high-risk category, use your discretion about what is best for your family. Stay home if you are sick and away from the pool and other team members.

Swim Lessons

We have cancelled all swim programming until the health risk has subsided. We will update the website and Facebook site when we are able to reschedule our lessons program.

We encourage all of our members to follow healthcare recommendations to avoid infection and the spread of infection.

Continue to check this website for updated information, and please reach out to us if you need help during this time!

NSEA Swim Achieves Status as Safe Sport Recognized Club

On January 17, 2020, NSEA Swim earned USA Swimming’s new Safe Sport Club Recognition. Out of more than 80 swim clubs in North Carolina, only 13 clubs have been designated as Safe Sport. USA Swimming clubs can earn a Safe Sport designation by demonstrating a commitment to creating safe, healthy, and positive environments for all members. They accomplish this by developing and implementing athlete protection policies, Safe Sport best practices, and Safe Sport education.

In order to earn Safe Sport status, NSEA Swim implemented policies, procedures, and best practices for protecting athletes. In addition, the club demonstrated screening and hiring procedures, highlighted communication efforts to report misconduct, and urged the club's minor athletes and parents to complete online courses.

Board President Dave Witmer explains how the designation sets us apart from the majority of swim organizations in North Carolina. "Most of the other teams on this list are the elite programs in North Carolina. This is a huge deal for our competitive swim club and for our mission as a community outreach program."

According to USA Swimming, the organization's top priority is to keep athletes safe. The Safe Sport policies were put in place to abolish all types of abuse, including child sexual abuse. Towards that end, USA Swimming created the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which is a separate, independent, organization that oversees all sexual misconduct reports in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement. This organization created a baseline, called the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies, to identify acceptable safety standards limiting one-on-one interactions between adults and minor athletes.

NSEA Swim is a year-round swim club in Wilmington, NC, that formed late in 2018. The team swims competitively in USA Swimming meets locally, regionally, and state-wide. Its swimmers range in age from five to 16 years and include swimmers of all abilities, from beginners to highly competitive swimmers ranked state-wide. The team’s mission is to increase multicultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in the sport of swimming by fostering an inclusive environment at all levels of the sport. Our goal is to build a sport community where participants can work and learn together in a safe, supportive environment.

For more information about USA Swimming's Safe Sport Recognized Club program information, visit For further details about NSEA Swim, contact Lisa Hill, Communications Director, at

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