July 18, 2018

Pool Safely, Olympic Swimmer Crippen Dive into World’s Largest Swimming Lesson for Safety

a large group of children sitting and standing around the edge of a large pool.

Each summer, Pool Safely joins our partner, the World Waterpark Association, to participate in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL). The WLSL is an annual global effort that brings together thousands of people to build awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drownings.

After working together for a WLSL event in 2014 and 2017, Pool Safely was proud to once again join campaign partner, Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission Department of Parks & Recreation (M-NCPPC), and Olympic swimmer Maddy Crippen, at the Fairland Sports and Aquatic Center in Laurel, Md., on June 21, 2018, for the WLSL. At the event, 185 local children from Prince George’s County, Md., learned about water safety and participated in a swimming lesson.

children sitting on the edge of a pool and two adults facing the camera and smiling.

Right and Left: Children participate in the WLSL; Center: Pool Safely Campaign Leader Nikki Fleming and Olympian Maddy Crippen pose together after leading a poolside water safety chat at the WLSL

Pool Safely Campaign Leader Nikki Fleming kicked off the event with Olympian Maddy Crippen, delivering a poolside water safety chat and sharing important safety reminders. They also led the children in verbally taking the Pool Safely Pledge to reinforce the simple safety steps and to confirm their commitment to being safer around the water. Having Pledged to Pool Safely, the children then entered the water for a 30-minute swimming lesson, learning age-appropriate swimming skills from trained M-NCPPC staff.

A birds eye view of a large pool with children sitting around the sides.

185 swimmers participate in a swimming lesson as part of the WLSL event at the Fairland Sports and Aquatic Center.

The Fairland Sports and Aquatic Center is just one of more than 700 pools, waterparks and other aquatic facilities in 44 U.S. states and 29 countries across the globe to host a WLSL event in 2018. This year’s event – the ninth annual WLSL – reached 45,000 children, according to an estimate by the World Waterpark Association.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s latest data show that drowning is still the leading cause of unintentional deaths among children ages one to four, and the second leading cause of death among children ages five to 14. While the number of reported fatal child drowning incidents in swimming pools has not increased significantly from last year’s CPSC reports, fatal and nonfatal child drowning incidents in pools and spas continue to pose a health risk across the country. Pool Safely takes part in events such as the WLSL each year to help educate children and families on safety around the water with the goal of preventing child drownings.

To learn more about how you and your family can support safer swimming, read our blog post about the importance of learning to swim, and then renew your Pledge to Pool Safely this summer and beyond. You can also see more photos from the 2018 WLSL event on the Pool Safely Flickr page.