USA Swimming Foundation Sets GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® for Largest Kickboard

The USA Swimming Foundation kicked-off its 10th annual Make a Splash Tour presented by Phillips 66 today in Washington, D.C., by setting aGUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® record for the World’s Largest Kickboard. This gigantic kickboard, which is 10 times the standard adult size board at 18 feet high by 11 feet wide, will serve as a larger-than-life petition for all Americans to urge Congress to add the question, “Do you know how to swim?” to the 2020 Census. Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14. The Make a Splash Tour presented by Phillips 66 will visit four cities nationwide during June to raise awareness around the importance of learning how to swim.

The kickboard serves as reminder for parents to enroll their children in swim lessons, and for Congress to add this critical question to the 2020 Census in order to gain an accurate count of a family’s ability to swim in the U.S.

All are encouraged to sign the petition by visiting

“Learning to swim changed the course of my life forever,” USA Swimming Foundation Ambassador and six-time Olympic medalist, Missy Franklin said. “This record-setting moment is designed to further the awareness of the importance of making sure children achieve the skills they need to build their confidence in the water and in life.”

Make a Splash Tour Presented by Phillips 66

This GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® moment kicks-off the USA Swimming Foundation’s 10th annual Make a Splash Tour presented by Phillips 66, which aims to save children’s lives through swim lessons. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research has shown that formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88 percent.

The Make a Splash Tour takes place throughout June and brings USA Swimming Foundation ambassadors, Olympic medalists and elite athletes to four cities across the country to educate children, parents, communities and civic leaders on the importance of learning to swim.

Missy Franklin, Olympic Champion

The 2018 tour will visit:

“The USA Swimming Foundation has made its mission to offer children in America the life skill of swimming regardless of race or financial circumstances,” USA Swimming Foundation ambassador and four-time Olympic medalist,” Cullen Jones stated.

To date, more than 6 million children have received the lifesaving gift of free or reduced-cost swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Local Partner network, which is comprised of more than 850 qualified swim lesson providers across the country. The USA Swimming Foundation has set an annual goal to provide at least 1 million children with swim lessons this year through its local partner network.

To find a swim lesson in your area, visit the Foundation’s lesson

“Safety is a core value for Phillips 66, and we believe child drownings are preventable,” Phillips 66 Manager, Corporate Brand and Creative Media, Tami Talbert Walker said. “We are proud to sponsor the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Tour to keep kids safer in, on, and around the water this summer.”

Since 1973, Phillips 66’s contributions have supported the USA Swimming community through National Championships and other international competitions, publication of club development materials, and many additional endeavors. The Make a Splash Tour, which the company has sponsored since the program’s inception in 2009, is a natural extension of its dedication to safety.

“With the support of Phillips 66, the USA Swimming Foundation is able to educate parents and children about the importance of learning to swim,” Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation, Debbie Hesse said.  “We’ve seen an increase in the number of children participating in swimming lessons through the Local Partner network. We look forward to continuing to grow and surpassing the 2017 1-million children milestone this year, and every year moving forward.”

Alarming Drowning Statistics

  • Drowning claims the lives of approximately 3,500 people per year, with nearly 25 percent being children under the age of 14. The problem is particularly prevalent in ethnically diverse communities, where the drowning rate is almost three times the national average (CDC).
  • Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the CDC.
  • African-American children drown at a rate nearly 5.5 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 

About the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Initiative

The USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative is a national child-focused water safety campaign, which aims to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim. Through Make a Splash, 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. The USA Swimming Foundation has invested millions of dollars to provide grants to qualified Local Partner learn-to-swim programs, to spread national awareness, and to bring together strategic partners to end drowning. To date, over 6 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner network, comprised of more than 850 qualified lesson providers across the nation. To learn more, visit

PHOTO CREDIT: © Mike Lewis / USA Swimming Foundation – USA Swimming Foundation Executive Director Debbie Hesse receives the official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS recognition from GWR adjudicator Michael Empric.

Swimming news release is courtesy of the USA Swimming Foundation. 

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4 years ago

Also, that board isn’t 10x bigger. Try 100x bigger. Look at the photo Rowdy posted, hahaha. A standard board is about 216 square inches, and the Make a Splash monstrosity is closer to 28,500 square inches. Oh, USA Swimming Foundation. Your math has always been so fuzzy! I feel like I’m reading your Annual Report all over again.

4 years ago

What a gratuitous media stunt. Asking someone if they know how to swim is like asking someone if they eat a balanced diet. What does “know how to swim” mean to you? Can you save yourself if you fall in? Can you swim 500 yards? Have you completed a certified learn-to-swim program? There are far more effective, statistically relevant ways to answer this question and gather real baseline data. I’d love to see the USA Swimming Foundation focus on making a real difference, rather than just making a splash in the media.

Just Sayin
4 years ago

I think someone has to kick a 50 with it to count

No Medal Mel
4 years ago

Pics of the board or it didn’t happen

Reply to  No Medal Mel
4 years ago

I guess we can see why you have no medal

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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