What do Gaithersburg, Georgia, Japan and Jamaica all have in common? At precisely the same time, in the same way, on the same day, they will team up with 24 countries on five continents to break the Guinness World Record for the largest swimming lesson—ever.
The day is Thursday, the time is 11 a.m. ET (3 p.m. GMT) and the number to beat is 20,000.
Registration for the free swimming lesson will start at 10:30 a.m. both the Rio and Lakeforest Sport & Health clubs.
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintended, injury related death of children ages 1-14, according to the WLSL website. And if a child doesn't learn to swim before the 3rd grade, they likely never will, it states.
It's message is simple—swimming lessons save lives. On Thursday 500 organizations will join in getting the message out and give swimming lessons.
Those statistics were more than enough to get Mindy Pierce, Director of Programming for Rio and Lakeforest Sport & Health, interested in participating.
"Many of the nation’s leading water safety and training organizations organized their efforts behind this event, and it quickly skyrocketed in popularity," Pierce told Patch in an email. "Last year they had a 500 percent increase in participation over the prior year. Sport & Health wanted to 'dive in' to the opportunity to help educate our members and the community about how swim lessons save lives."
Kids can start in the water with their parents when they are only 6 months old to help get comfortable in the environment, Pierce said.
Swim Lesson Instructions Include
- safely entering and exiting the water
- blowing bubbles, submerging the face, opening eyes under water
- floating on the front and then on the back
- working on rolling over from front to back
- getting into a position where those in the water can call for help
- basic stroke techniques, including gliding off the wall, kicking, breathing to the side, and alternating arm strokes
- trying to put it all together for the front crawl
But even swim lessons can't guarantee safety, Pierce said.
"Never take your eyes off of your children in the water. Not even for a few seconds," Pierce wrote in an email. "Create a buddy system with other parents and designate who is watching the kids. Better yet—get in the water and play together."