More than 10,000 children on 4 continents, will kick, float and dive their way into the record books as they participate in The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL).  On Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, waterparks, pools and other aquatic facilities around the globe will host local WLSL lessons simultaneously at 8 am (11 am ET) in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record, as a way to build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim, a key component in drowning prevention.

The event culminates National Drowning Prevention Awareness Month – a month long initiative that takes place in May to support ongoing public education on water safety.  Hundreds of aquatic facilities, from Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon near Orlando, Florida, to swim schools in San Diego, Ca, and far reaching as Zambia, Lebanon, Dubai, and the USAG Humphreys in South Korea are participating in the program to build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning.

 The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ event is presented by a coalition of the nation’s leading water safety and training organizations, including:


 

The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals

The National Aquatic Safety Company

The National Recreation and Park Association

The United States Swim School Association 

 The Swim for Life Foundation

The United States Swim School Association

The World Waterpark Association

Starfish Aquatics Institute

Gold Medalists Rowdy Gaines and Janet Evans are championing the WLSL effort to help convey that drowning can be prevented through awareness and training “I’m thrilled to be working with WLSL to help spread the word that Swimming Lessons Save Lives™,” said Gaines. 

It’s tragic that drowning is the second leading cause of unintended, injury related death of children ages 1-14 in the US – with more than one in four fatal drowning victims being children 14 and younger. And, research shows if a child doesn’t learn to swim before the 3rd grade, they likely never will. So, we, as aquatics professionals,  have a limited window of opportunity to make the biggest impact. 

Summer is right around the corner, and aquatic professionals encourage everyone to have fun in the water this summer, and we want to also stress constant adult supervision, know CPR, and children should learn to swim.

Remember, being safe in and around the water requires more than just swimming lessons. But, learning to swim and the exposure to the water safety skills and messages that swimming lessons offer provides a lifelong foundation for drowning prevention.

Safe Swimming!

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