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‘World’s Largest Swimming Lesson’ event in Charlotte aims to lower drowning deaths

'World's Largest Swimming Lesson' event aims to lower drowning deaths
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WILX) - One of the great things about living in Michigan is the plethora of lakes to swim in.

However, it’s been a deadly swimming season so far. As of Thursday, there have been 19 drownings in Lake Michigan alone.

While Michigan is known for its water fun, it’s estimated that roughly half of Michigan adults don’t know how to swim well enough to save themselves -- let alone a child. An event Thursday at the Charlotte Aquatic Center is aiming to change that -- and it’s making quite a splash.

2-year-old Olivia Swift may not be able to kick like the big kids yet, but that doesn’t stop her from swimming like one. She still needs her mom by her side to cross the pool, but after Thursday’s lesson, she’ll be going solo in no time. That gives Katy Swift peace of mind.

“We have a pond and we have family that has a pool,” Swift said. “So it’s just nice to have the kids learn about the basics of swimming.”

With each lesson, Olivia breaks new boundaries -- and Thursday’s lesson is breaking lessons. It’s called the “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.”

“We have many many families here today celebrating water safety in our World’s Largest Swimming lesson,” said Julie Davis, with the Charlotte Aquatic Center. “We are joining our voices with thousands across the globe to help prevent drowning.”

Children under the age of four have the highest drowning rate, but adults are getting extra attention. People 45-85 years old are the only age group where the drowning rate hasn’t gone down in recent years.

People of all ages came to the Charlotte Aquatic Center to learn -- the oldest being 75.

“I’m so excited about the age gap. We have so many people of so many different levels identifying and realizing how important it is to stay safe in and around the water,” Davis said.

Even the youngest swimmers were taught critical, life-saving strategies.

“It’s really nice and it makes me much more comfortable knowing that they know what to do in the water,” Swift said.

After Thursday’s event, 50 more Mid-Michiganders can cannonball with confident.

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson started 13 years ago. More than 300,000 people on six continents have taken part since then. The event has set five Guinness World Records.

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