Children lathered on sunscreen and grabbed their goggles before they jumped into pools at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center to participate in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.
Thursday’s activities marked the fifth year the aquatic center joined more than 600 community pools, water parks and facilities from around the world who put on a 30-minute swim lesson.
“The goal is to promote water safety and the importance of everyone knowing how to swim,” said Taryn Flatt, Santa Clarita Aquatics’ recreational program specialist.
Created by the World Waterpark Association in 2010, the World’ Largest Swimming Lesson was designed to build awareness about the importance of teaching kids how to swim to help prevent drowning, which is the second leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 14.
“Across the world everyone is doing a swim lesson today at some point at their designated time that works best for their group,” Flatt said.
The swim lesson teaches kids basic swimming skills and teaches parents the importance of poolside supervision, while also bolstering worldwide support in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record.
In 2014, the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson became the Guinness World Record holder for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson conducted at multiple venues—a record it has tried to re-break every year since.
At the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, lifeguards discussed pool rules with parents and kids before splitting them up into seven groups based on age level.
“They’re pretty good swimmers so I want them to learn how to swim better and swim for long distances,” said Justin McWilson who brought his son Saga, 7, and daughter Jade, 6, to the swim lesson.
Both children said they were excited to get in the water and learn how to do more tricks like diving and flips.
“I want to use the diving board,” Jade McWilson said.
In the 5- to 6-year-old age group, children practiced blowing bubbles, kicking, floating, pushing off the pool wall, using “ice cream scoop hands” to swim and diving for rings.
“We break it up into age categories from babies all the way to adults that want to work on swimming stuff,” Flatt said. “One of the most important life skills is learning how to swim, knowing how to swim saves lives.”
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_