World's Largest Swimming Lesson promotes pool safety

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by Jayson Chesler

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on June 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Water parks and pools around the Valley and around the globe participated in the World's Largest Swimming Lesson on June 20, an event that looks to teach people the skills they need to be safe in water.

More than 32,000 people took lessons simultaneously around the globe, including those at Swim-Kids USA. The Tempe-based swim school had guests from Radio Disney and Olympic gold medal winner Breeja Larson discussing the lifelong benefits of swimming.

"It's important when you do it [learn to swim] young," Larson said. "The older you are, the more uncomfortable you might be to get into the water. When they start learning to swim when they're younger, it's a life skill."

While the swimming lesson took place around the globe, water safety is a particularly important topic for those in the Valley area. There have already been 31 drowning incidents and 10 fatalities in Phoenix this year alone, according to the city of Phoenix.

Big Surf Waterpark in Tempe also took part in the event, more than 600 people attended the water park's portion of the swimming lesson. Big Surf spokesperson Jeff Golner said the lessons can also help teach parents to constantly be aware of their kids around water.

"We unfortunately hear about those cases where someone wasn't watched around the water," Golner said. "This [the lesson] helps to reinforce that whether they're at a water park or, certainly, at home they always have to watch their kids around water."

The event broke the world record for the largest swimming lesson happening at multiple venues, a record that was set by the 2013 edition of the World's Largest Swimming Lesson.

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