Courtesy: USA Swimming
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— Today, USA Swimming and partner Phillips 66 launch Saving Lives is Always in Season—an important partnership to increase drowning prevention nationwide by reminding Americans that swim lessons are life-saving resources, critical to public health and well-being, and should be taught year-round.
“Ensuring children have access to swim lessons doesn’t disappear when summer ends. Learn-to-swim programs teach essential life-saving skills that should be available year-round,” said Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Director of Community Engagement at USA Swimming. “These programs help keep kids safe in and around the water as research shows that teaching a child to swim can reduce their drowning risk by 88%. USA Swimming is proud to partner with Phillips 66 to raise awareness about drowning prevention and engage parents and policymakers across the nation in this important conversation about water safety.”
Claudia Kreisle, Director of Social Impact for Phillips 66, also emphasized the importance of water safety stating, “Safety is at the center of Phillips 66’s operations and culture. We recognize the increase in drowning rates since the beginning of the pandemic and have stayed committed with our support to the USA Swimming Foundation to raise awareness around water safety and teach children to swim.”
USA Swimming and the USA Swimming Foundation are committed to making sure every child has the opportunity to learn how to swim. To reinforce this message, USA Swimming has enlisted the help of USA Swimming Foundation Ambassadors and Olympians Gaines, Cullen Jones, Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Beisel to help educate the public about the importance of this lifesaving skill.
Partners for nearly 50 years, Phillips 66 has long supported USA Swimming and the USA Swimming Foundation in their quest create safer opportunities for children in and around the water. Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14 in the United States. Research has shown that formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88 percent. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the closure of pools and the cancellation of learn-to-swim programs across the country, Phillips 66 and USA Swimming are working together to promote swim lesson access and water safety for all children – no matter the season.
As we understand more about COVID-19, including ways to mitigate the risk of transmitting the disease in aquatic centers, it’s important that policymakers allow for indoor pools to open and remain accessible during the fall and winter months so that children can get into the pools to learn to swim. Additionally, this is a critical time for young people and adults to receive lifeguard training and certifications in order for our pools and beaches to be fully protected come spring.
To find a swim lesson provider in your area or see when and where pools are open, please visit www.usaswimming.org/savinglives.
Public health professionals, as well as athletic bodies across the country, consider swimming to be a low-contact risk sport, and current research shows that COVID-19 is not transmitted through chlorinated water. By adhering to strict safety protocols, swim lessons can be conducted in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The national learn to swim campaign will kick off with a cornerstone virtual event today at 5 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. PDT) featuring all four campaign ambassadors. The Saving Lives is Always in Season webinar is free and open to the public and will include an interactive discussion with attendees so they can learn more about the issue and how to get involved. Participants can register here. The national learn to swim campaign will run through the remainder of October.