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‘World’s Largest Swimming Lesson’ Attempts to Break Record

Event emphasizes importance of teaching kids to swim

June 9, 2012
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Safe Kids Greater Des Moines, Altoona Aquatic Park, Algona Family YMCA, and the Norman D. Stamp Aquatic Center in Harlan are joining top water safety and training organizations around the U.S. and world on Thursday, June 14 for the World's Largest Swimming LessonTM (WLSL). On that day, waterparks, pools and other aquatic facilities around the globe will host WLSL lessons simultaneously at 10 a.m. CT in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record TM. The event is designed to build awareness about the importance of teaching young children to swim to help prevent drowning.

Swimming is a life-saving skill for children and a vital tool to prevent drowning, the leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children between the ages of 1 and 5. A study published by the Archive of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine showed participation in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88 percent reduction in the risk of drowning in children aged 1 to 4 years. "Research shows if a child doesn't learn to swim by the third grade, they likely never will," said IDPH Environmental Specialist Debbi Cooper. "While it's never too late to learn to swim, this event offers an opportunity to emphasize to parents that teaching their children to swim offers lifelong benefits in terms of both physical activity and safety."

The event on June 14 will feature a 30 minute swimming lesson, occurring simultaneously at pre-registered locations around the world. In 2011, the Guinness World Record TM for the largest swimming lesson ever occurred on June 14, when more than 20,000 people representing 45 states and 14 countries on five continents participated. This year, there are more than 500 official WLSL host locations around the world, representing 24 countries on five continents and 46 states in the U.S.

For more information on WLSL, visit



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