The Hernando County YMCA branch along with approximately 600 water facilities worldwide participated in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson (WLSL) on June 22, 2017. According to the WLSL organization, the event “serves as a platform to help the global aquatics industry work together to build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning. Swimming is a life-saving skill for children and a vital tool to prevent drowning, the second leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for U.S. children ages 1-14.”
Their mission is to bring attention to the fact that swim lessons save lives. They state that, "Research shows risk of drowning can be reduced by 88 percent if children participate in formal swimming lessons between the ages of 1-4. Yet, a survey conducted by the American Red Cross in 2014 found that more than half of Americans (54 percent) either can't swim or don't have all of the basic swimming skills."
Host facilities logged their participants and taught the same 30-minute beginner lesson on June 22. At our YMCA pool, lifeguards and swim instructors gave the lesson to several groups of children over about three hour’s time. Approximately 100 children from ages 6-12 participated, said lifeguard Sara Overo.
Overo stated, “The lesson will introduce basic swimming skills such as kicking, using their arms and jumping in. We also discuss pool and boating safety as well as life jackets.”
Children who participated in the lesson were broken down by skill level. Each child was given a colored ring to wear indicating their skill level.
Team WLSL is proud to hold the current Guinness World Record “for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson, which stands at 32,450 participants representing 13 different countries across five continents!”
The Hernando County YMCA branch offers a variety of swim lessons for children of all ages and abilities. Go to https://www.ymcasuncoast.org or call (352) 688-9622 for more information.
The number of locations who participated this year will be released after August 1st.