On Thursday, June 21 at 10 a.m., thousands of children and adults are invited to unite at aquatics facilities around the world to set a new global record for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL). The City of Gainesville is proud to be one of the nation’s top water safety and training organizations that joins forces with worldwide participants in order to foster education on the vital importance of swimming lessons that aid drowning prevention. The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) is joining Team WLSL to once again break a world record and send the message that swimming lessons save lives. The global record attempt takes place at three Gainesville locations: Andrew R. Mickle Pool, Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool and H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool.
Team WLSL and the City of Gainesville aim to surpass last year’s participant numbers and set an eighth Guinness World Record in this category. The current Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson stands at approximately 41,000 participants representing 27 different countries. Last year, Gainesville’s pools had 438 participants.
“Our participation is meant to draw attention to a very important message - by teaching children to swim, we are having a real impact on reducing the drowning rate among children,” explains Interim Recreation Manager John Weber. “Our goal is to get the message out to the community that swimming lessons help save lives, while having fun at the same time!”
Tragically, drowning remains the leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children age one-five years old, and the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children aged one to four, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.
To participate in this event and be part of history, please arrive at 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the swimming lesson, at one of the three Gainesville host location facilities: Mickle Pool, 1717 SE 15th St.; Northeast Pool, 1100 NE 14th St.; or Westside Pool, 1001 NW 31st Dr. Registering for the WLSL allows you to enjoy the pool for the day!
If you are unable to attend the event, PRCA offers swimming lessons at all three pools during the summer. For more information please visit http://www.cityofgainesville.org/ParksRecreationCulturalAffairs/Sports,AquaticsFitness/Aquatics/SwimLessons.aspx.
To learn more about this event, visit www.WLSL.org or call 352-334-5067.