Sporting swimsuits and sunscreen, dozens of children in Chula Vista took part in a global event Thursday known as the “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson” (WLSL).
Organized by the World Waterpark Association, the event provided free swimming instruction at pools around the world Thursday, including waterparks, rec centers and other aquatic facilities – like Chula Vista’s Loma Verde Aquatic Center. The event aims to raise awareness on the importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning.
Karina Craig, an aquatics supervisor with the City of Chula Vista, said this marks the ninth year that Chula Vista has participated in the WLSL.
“This is important because swimming lessons save lives,” Craig told NBC 7.
She said drowning, tragically, continues to be the second leading cause of accidental deaths for children ages 1 to 14.
“Research shows that if children take formal swimming lessons between the ages of 1 and 4, it reduces the risk of drowning by 88 percent,” Craig added.
Thursday’s group lesson included teaching children the basics of water safety and basic swimming instruction. Craig said it was a good reminder to parents to sign their little ones up for lessons this summer.
The City of Chula Vista, for instance, offers swimming lessons to the community on a regular basis, 10 months out of the year. Two-week lessons cost $35 for Chula Vista residents.