The USA Swimming Foundation announced today that more than 4 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through its 750-member Make a Splash Local Partner network, since the initiative began in 2007.
Through the Make a Splash initiative, the USA Swimming Foundation provides the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim – regardless of race, gender or financial circumstances. The USA Swimming Foundation partners with learn-to-swim providers and water safety advocates across the country to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim.
Ten people drown each day in the United States and it’s the second leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 14. With 70 percent of African-American children, 60 percent of Latino children, and 40 percent of Caucasian children with low or no swimming ability, the USA Swimming Foundation has a goal of providing swim lessons to 1 million children annually through the Local Partner network by December 31, 2017.
“Teaching 4 million children to swim is a huge milestone. We know our work will impact even more people in generations to come, as this life-saving skill will be passed on to those who may not have learned to swim otherwise,” said Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “Formal swimming lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88 percent and no child should miss out on swim lessons because of barriers we can overcome.”
As the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming, the USA Swimming Foundation works to strengthen the sport by raising funds to support programs that save lives and build champions in the pool and in life. Thus far, the USA Swimming Foundation has provided more than $4 million in grants to Make a Splash Local Partners for free and low cost swimming lessons nationwide to spread national awareness and bring together strategic partners to end drowning.
Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation is the Make a Splash Local Partner that provided the 4 millionth swim lesson. Ann Arbor was named America’s Top Swim City in 2014 and 2015, in a study commissioned by USA Swimming and Speedo USA. In their 2015-2016 season, they had over 400 group lesson students, provided over 1300 private lessons and had over 200 swim team participants.
“We are beyond excited and have been working hard to make sure that in our community, each child has access to swimming instruction,” says Gayle LaVictoire, Recreation Supervisor at City of Ann Arbor. “Being able to help reach that goal makes us want to work hard to get to the next major milestone as an organization and Make a Splash Local Partner!”
To Find, Get or Give a swim lesson, visit: www.usaswimmingfoundation.org
Alarming Drowning Statistics
- Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with nearly 25 percent children younger than 14
- 70 percent of African-American and 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino children cannot swim, according to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis
- Only 19 percent of kids who come from a non-swimming household will ever learn to swim as found by the USA Swimming Foundation
- African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, as reported by the CDC
- Drowning is a silent killer—most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time, according to the Present P. Child Drowning study
About the USA Swimming Foundation
The USA Swimming Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming. Established in 2004, the Foundation works to strengthen the sport by saving lives and building champions— in the pool and in life. Whether we’re equipping our children with the life-saving skill of learn-to-swim through our Make a Splash initiative, or providing financial support to our heroes on the U.S. National Team, the USA Swimming Foundation aims to provide the wonderful experience of swimming to kids at all levels across the country. To learn more, visit www.usaswimmingfoundation.org.
Swimming News release is courtesy of the USA Swimming Foundation.