The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL) is a global event intended to work as a platform for local community aquatic centers to work together to prevent drowning. Every year they host The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson in pools across the world to teach water safety techniques. Simultaneously over 40,000 participants will partake in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. Swimming can be a lifesaving skill and according to the American Red Cross 54% of Americans aren’t able to stay afloat. According to the WLSL website, drowning can be reduced by 88 percent if children participate in formal swimming lessons between the ages of 1-4. The WLSL wants to stress the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim.
“Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 – 4”, says the WLSL website, “yet many do not receive formal swimming or water safety training. Drowning remains the leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children ages 1 – 4, and the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14.”
More than 155,000 people from over 40 countries have participated in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. Team WLSL holds the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson conducted at multiple venues. (36 546 participants in 22 countries). Sun-N-Fun in Naples Florida set a Guinness World Record for the largest swimming lesson conducted at a single venue with 1308 swimmers.
The event has grown in popularity over its 8 years. This year on June 22 3-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines led the swim lesson at the Aquatica in Sea World. Olympic bronze medalist Tom Wilkens was in attendance at the event in New Jersey and Janet Evans emceed the event in Orange County. The goal is to reach out to as many people as possible to actively reduce the risk of drowning in the water.