Houston Partakes In The World's Largest Swimming Lesson
by: Agatha Brandfield-Harvey, July 23, 2013 2:07:00 pm
This story was written, voiced and produced by a NewsLab intern. For more information, visit kuhf.org/newslab.
Water parks and public pools around the nation and the world teamed up to conduct The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson or WLSL.
Spreading awareness about the importance of swim lessons for children was one part of the event. Another part was to have as much sign-ups as possible in hopes of beating the Guinness World Record of the number of event participants.
This year, there were 800 people at a water park in Arizona, more than 130 in Logansport, Indiana, 60 in Alaska, and 140 down south in Paraiba, Brazil, just to name a few.
Here in Houston, the Houston Scuba Academy partnered with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Members of the agency’s Marine Unit and Dive Team were swim instructors.
Major Debra Schmidt is a dive team member. She says Sheriff Adrian Garcia made her team’s involvement possible.
“I learned about this event through our Public Safety Diving Network and learned that this event was going to go on. I approached the Sheriff and Sheriff Garcia is outstanding. He is so supportive of these types of outreach programs.”
Schmidt believes that this event will help raise awareness. She says the WLSL committee strives to reach out to as many people as they can.
“Every year they’re setting a new bar for the World’s Record and we’re shooting for 25,000 people getting the same, simultaneous swim lesson all over the world.”
At the Houston Scuba Academy, the swim instructors taught over 50 young children and adults how to swim and how to be comfortable in the water.
“They taught us how to put our heads in and then take deep breaths to go in.”
That’s 15-year-old Adrianna Perez. Worldwide, participants were from eighteen months to seventy years-old.
As more people are becoming aware of the fundamentals of swimming, more people are going to want to learn. That’s what Houston WLSL Organizer Darryl Prevost hopes to see happen.
“People tend to take on trends. When they see people stroking and when they see people floating on their back, they want to try it. So, they understand it’s not just getting in the water and doing dog paddle. It’s actually some type of science or some type of learning that goes involved with swimming. So when people see that, I believe they’re going to want to do it more.”
If last year’s world record of 24, 873 was broken, it will be announced on August 1st.