Last week, tens of thousands of young swimmers across the globe took part in the 2018 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL), which teaches kids and parents lifesaving water safety skills.
The ninth annual WLSL event took place over a 24-hour period at more than 700 waterparks, pools, YMCAs and swim schools in 44 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces (up to 19 locations from six in 2017), and 29 countries around the globe.
The event also serves to build awareness about the critical importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning. Program organizers are working to connect the dots between the real risk of childhood drowning, the need for basic water competency skills, and the fact that parents must remain vigilant at all times when supervising children in and around water.
“Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 per cent among children aged 1 to 4,” said Amanda Beard, Olympic gold medalist, mother, and WLSL spokesperson. “Yet many kids don’t receive formal swimming or water safety training.”
Ensuring every child learns to swim and teaching families the proper precautions to take in and around the water is a powerful step toward prevention, said Olympian and WLSL spokesperson, Lenny Krayzelburg.
The Canadian aquatic facilities that participated in this year’s WLSL include:
- Alberta Health Services-YMCA of Medicine Hat (Medicine Hat, Alta.)
- Bingeman’s Big Splash (Kitchener, Ont.)
- Delhi Kinsmen Pool (Delhi, Ont.)
- Garrison Petawawa Dundonald Hall Aquatic and Fitness Centre (Petawawa, Ont.)
- Miles Nadal JCC (Toronto)
- Wet ‘n’ Wild Toronto (Brampton, Ont.)
- Redcliff Aquatic Centre (Redcliff, Alta.)
- Syncrude Aquatic Center (Ft. McMurray, Alta.)
- Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel Pool – (Lesson by Propel) (Toronto)
- Surrey P&R-Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre (Surrey, B.C.)
- Surrey P&R-Guildford Recreation Centre (Surrey, B.C.)
- Surrey P&R-Newton Recreation Centre (Surrey, B.C.)
- Surrey P&R-North Surrey Indoor Pool (Surrey, B.C.)
- Surrey P&R-South Surrey Indoor Pool (Surrey, B.C.)
- Surrey P&R-Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex (Surrey, B.C.)
- Okotoks Recreation Centre (Okotoks, Alta.)
- Taber Aquafun Centre (Taber, Alta.)
- World Waterpark-West Edmonton Mall (Edmonton, Alta.)