Tampa takes part in World’s Largest Swim Lesson

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Swimmers in Copeland Pool // Chris Young, WMNF News 6/20/24

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In the past decade, there have been over 200 unintentional drowning deaths in Hillsborough County. Four Tampa pools took part in the 15th annual World’s Largest Swim lesson in hopes of reducing that number.

About 60 kids came to the Copeland Pool in Tampa to learn how to swim. They took part in a global drowning prevention event called the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. The World Water Park Association launched it in 2010.

Tampa’s Administrator of Neighborhood and Community Affairs Ocea Wynn says it’s important for kids to learn to swim, especially in Florida.

“We have lakes, we have streams, we have creeks, we have 1.5 million swimming pools, and we’re surrounded by three bodies of water, so it’s imperative that children and adults know how to keep themselves safe in the water.”

New to the event was support from the non-profit Smile Like Aubrey, founded by Matt and Kristen Strojnowski. The couple lost their 16-month old daughter to drowning in 2020.

“This right here makes it all worthwhile, because people are taking it seriously and getting their kids the lessons that are needed to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the risk of drowning can be reduced by 88% if kids take formal swim lessons between the ages of 1 and 4.

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