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We Should Expect More

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

Written By: Dr. Tiffany Monique Quash

During the last 4 years, this country (specifically the United States) experienced (and continues to experience) cultural unrest. For the first time in our history, we watched: the lynching of George Floyd on May 25, 2020; the call for action in the streets in the aftermath of his death; and/or the judgment of his killer in 2021. As a human who enjoys the occasional walk outside, it is my responsibility to remind people of the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020 when he went out for a jog and never returned home. As a Black Womxn, it would be a misstep if I did not mention the killing of Breonna Taylor in March 2020 caused by the unnecessary actions of police officers due to a no-knock warrant. Finally, living in Northern Virginia, I am often reminded of Klete Keller’s actions on January 6, 2021, and those who wished ill-will upon what we know as democracy. Through each of these experiences, organizations took it upon themselves to conjure up a response to their membership and the public.

Some political responses by organizations were developed with community members and received an abundance of support, while others were heavily criticized and reminded that they “did not understand the assignment”. Overall, We Should Expect More regarding the responses from organizations when addressing issues of justice, injustices, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The experiences of the total human should be placed into account of all marginalized communities. Thus, We Should Expect More. But what does “More” mean to us in the swimming community?


The purpose of Streamline Teams, The Flags is an opportunity to implement the changes within

the swimming world by addressing and implementing team policies that challenge the social

constructs (in alphabetical order) of: ableism, ageism, cissexism, racism, classism, colorism,

When we only discuss such topics, this is a form of what Teju Cole calls, White-Savior Industrial

Complex. If we take the second meaning from Cole’s publication in The Atlantic, it is stated that

White-Savior Industrial Complex is “[t]he white savior [who] supports brutal policies in the

morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening”. Cole further

notes that it is, “[m]arginalized voices in America have fewer and fewer avenues to speak plainly

about what they suffer; the effect of this enforced civility is that those voices are falsified or

blocked entirely from the discourse”. If you are still reading and that the definition of White-

Savior Industrial Complex does not fit you, are slightly offended by the name (and not the

definition), or are still unsure of this term, let’s consider the word: Performative Activism. In the

words of Chelsea Candelario, Performative Activism “is supporting a cause or issue to garner attention, support or monetization from others rather than actually caring about making a difference in the cause”. Do either of these actions describe our swimming community as a collective or individually? It is in my opinion that our sport has reached a crux in its attempts to make decisions about marginalized communities without speaking with and bringing such communities to the table for discussion that can and will impact their communities. The evidentiary proof can be seen on the pool decks regarding the lack of marginalized individuals in positions of leadership and the hate speech online from those in these leadership positions. Further evidence and methods to move our sport forward will be provided in this series.

Why is it named, The Flags?

As coaches, we often refer to the flags either when approaching or leaving. Our world is focused on the swimmer and where they are either within or outside of “the flags”. Swimmers are often reflecting upon their past stroke count, pull out, etc. in relationship to the flags. At times, they are thinking about the impact of a race passing a competitor between the flags and the wall. Everything they do is linked to the flags: state of mind, form, stroke. This is strongly correlated to the work Streamline Teams will do with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion because our work will have meaning and will carry through in the work coaches will bring to the table to help implement positive changes on their team.


How we each come to understanding, discussing, and implementing programmatic change with our teams related to injustices, diversity, equity, and inclusion is not an easy task. The next steps include reading the monthly, The Flags, online and participating in The Flags Collective. It must be said that participating in such programming is continuous and not a “check-mark” or a “one stop shop”. We invite you to be a part of this community and to be gentle with yourself through this journey. We have identified that a blank statement from any organization without action does not provide foundational change in our sport. We Expect More and We Want More. The “more” can be found here with Streamline Teams.

Tiffany Monique Quash, Ph.D. describes her mission in life as: “Learning to Swim is a Human Right.” Her research focuses on the intersectionality of race, gender, class, and one’s historical relationships with swimming. As a former collegiate swimmer and Nation's Capital Swim Coach, Dr. Quash works to improve the perceptions of one’s Black body in an aquatic space by listening to the stories of other Black Womxn Swimmers. Outside of her research and publications, Dr. Quash serves as the Director of Operations with the International Water Safety Foundation (IWSF), a non-profit organization. The purpose of IWSF is: “raising drowning awareness while bringing basic swimming, water safety, and safe rescue skills to children”. She is also the Qualitative/Survey Research Methodologist for American University's Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning.


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