On a recent day in St. Paul, dozens of black, Hispanic and Asian-American kids sat splashing around at the edge of a pool.

The 5- to 9-year-olds were learning some basic rules: to stay away from fenced or locked pools, for example, and to swim in the company of an adult.

Angel Moreno Rodriguez, 9, said there was a lot he didn’t know about swimming.

He recited some of what he’d learned: “If you see a broken drain, don’t go close to it — tell an adult. Don’t play-fight. Don’t fake that you’re drowning. Don’t do something dangerous in the water.”

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