OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Aug. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- WLSL 2018 scored big in its 9th year with the largest event on record including 41,814 participants at 603 locations in 27 countries. Bigger still? The fact that the program has delivered the Swimming Lessons Save Lives message more than one billion times since its inception in 2010.
"We've been blown away by the support the World's Largest Swimming Lesson™ event has received over the past nine years," said Rick Root, President of the World Waterpark Association (WWA). "When we launched the program in 2010, we were hopeful the aquatics community would rally behind it and the response has been incredible. The fact that WLSL has been able to deliver the message Swimming Lessons Save Lives more than a billion times is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when an industry works together toward a critical goal."
This year's event, which took place over the course of 24 hours on June 21st, received support from more than 600 waterparks, swim schools, pools, Y's and aquatic facilities, as well as dozens of water safety and drowning prevention organizations. The purpose of the event is to provide kids and parents exposure to life-saving water safety skills and build awareness about the vital importance of learning to swim and having parental vigilance anytime kids are in or around the water.
According to the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is major public health problem worldwide with drowning ranked as the third leading cause of all unintentional injury-related deaths. In the U.S., drowning remains the leading cause of accidental death for kids ages 1-4 and the second leading cause for kids under the age of 14, due in large part to lack of basic water safety and swimming skills and lack of constant adult supervision while kids are in the water.
"All of us who work in and support the aquatics industry have an opportunity here," said Aleatha Ezra, Director of Park Member Development at the WWA. "Together, we can work to make sure parents understand the critical importance of swim lessons and undistracted supervision in keeping people safer in and around the water. We know it makes a difference."
WLSL will mark its 10th Anniversary on Thursday, June 20th, 2019.