Splash Universe in Shipshewana joined other water park facilities around the world as they attempted to set the world record last Thursday morning for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL).
The inaugural WLSL event established the Guinness World Record™ for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson ever conducted in 2010 to build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning. Last year’s WLSL event grew more than 400 percent with 20,000+ participants representing 13 countries around the globe and 45 states in the U.S.
This year, the goal was for even more lessons.
Tragically, drowning remains the second leading cause of unintended, injury-related death of children under age 14 and a leading cause of death for children ages 1-5. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children ages 1-4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.
The WLSL program works to promote drowning prevention through education by focusing the energy of thousands of participants on a clear and specific message all at the same time.
“When we’re a part of something like this, it’s important. These are our families,” said Shawn Bowman from Splash Universe. “It’s important for families to teach kids how to swim.” Swimming is one of those activities that kick off summer. “Water is summer,” Bowman added. “And swimming lessons save lives.”