MIAMI — This morning, tens of thousands of kids and adults at aquatic facilities around the world will unite for the sixth year in a row to set a Guinness world record for “The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.” The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department will be serving as an official host for the WLSL 2015 event.
At approximately 10:15 a.m. today, 500 children, ages 6-14, enrolled in summer “Learn-to-Swim” classes at county parks pools will be part of the simultaneous worldwide swimming lesson with classes for ages 2 through adults at other times throughout the day.
Participating county pools will include A.D. “Doug” Barnes Pool, Arcola Pool, Goulds Pool, Gwen Cherry Park, Helen Sands Pool, Little River Pool, Naranja Pool, Palm Springs North Pool, Rockway Pool, Sgt. Joseph Delancy Pool, Tamiami Pool, and Tropical Estates Pool.
Team WLSL holds the current Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson, which stands at 36,564 participants representing 22 different countries. The 2014 event generated more than 50 million media impressions, spreading the event’s important message to hundreds of thousands of families.
The event was created to raise awareness of the risk of drowning and pool-related injuries among children, emphasizing the importance of learning how to swim. The group-swimming lesson will cover basic swim strokes, learning how to stay safe in and around water, and the importance of adult supervision when swimming.
Tragically, drowning remains the leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 5 and the second leading cause for ages 14 and under. Florida has the second-highest number of drowning incidents in the United States, and Miami-Dade County leads the state in drowning deaths. Research shows that formal swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88 percent for children ages 1 to 4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.
“I am very proud that Miami-Dade County will be joining aquatics facilities around the globe for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, in support of drowning prevention. It is great to see so many of our community’s youth already enrolled in the Parks Department’s Learn-to-Swim program and participating in this historic county-wide swim lesson,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “I encourage more residents to enroll their children in swimming classes this summer.”
“The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson is a great way to get the message across to parents that Learn-to-Swim classes provide children with vital skills that can save their lives and a lifetime of enjoyment in and around the water,” said Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys.
Miami-Dade Learn-to-Swim classes are offered at all Miami-Dade County public pools and are taught by certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructors. Learn-to-Swim classes include Parent and Tot (Ages 2-3), Preschool Aquatics (Ages 4-5), Levels 1-6 (Ages 6-18), and Adults. For more information or to register, contact your desired pool site from the list on the Miami-Dade Parks Learn-to-Swim web page.
On average, Miami-Dade Parks registers approximately 12,000 patrons for its Learn-to-Swim program each year.
The non-profit Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade provides scholarships for free-swimming lessons to children. For more information or to donate, visit the website.
The Miami-Dade Drowning Prevention Coalition (DPC), housed under the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, provides a centralized resource for the coordination of information and programs related to water safety awareness, education and advocacy to reduce drowning, non-fatal drowning and other water related injuries in Miami-Dade.