The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs. ... Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.
From a new report mentioned in the NYT:
... blacks ages 5 to 19 were 5.5 times more likely to drown in pools than whites the same age. The study is limited by a lack of data on who swims where — for example, if blacks have less access to swimming pools or choose not to use them, their rates of drowning may be even higher than the report indicates.