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Record breaker: Swim sessions hope to draw big crowd

By Staff | Jun 13, 2013

Cape Coral residents and visitors are invited to help set a new Guinness World Record.

On Tuesday, people around the world will participate in the largest, simultaneous swimming lesson. Adults and children ages 6 months and up are welcome to take part at 11 a.m. at one of two registered locations in the city – Cape Coral Yacht Club Community Pool and Sun Splash Family Waterpark.

It is the second year that the city has offered people an opportunity to be involved in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson through its aquatic facilities. It is the fourth year for the event globally.

“This is a worldwide event,” Barbara Dickinson, manager at the Cape Yacht Club, said.

“It teaches children a life-saving skill,” she said.

Drowning remains the second leading cause of unintended, injury-related death among children under the age of 14 and it is a leading cause of death among children ages 1-5, according to officials.

Research shows that participation in formal swimming lessons can cut the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children ages 1-4, yet many do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.

“Teaching your children how to swim is one of the most important things you can do for them,” Dickinson said.

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, which is also known as Team WLSL, currently holds the Guinness World Record with 24,873 participants representing 15 countries and five continents.

Those who want to take part can simply show up at one of the facilities; there is no cost.

Dickinson suggested arriving a little early.

“We do have a capacity at the pool,” she said, adding that the limit is 99 people.

Last year, 49 people took part in the event.

“We involve our (summer) camp children with that,” she said. “It’s also open to the public.”

Those who want to stay at the pool after the event must pay the normal daily fee.

People who choose to participate in the event at Sun Splash must pay the daily fee to get in.

As part of the record breaking attempt, life guards will offer half-hour instruction on swimming.

“We have as many instructors in the pool as we possibly can,” Dickinson said.

Participants are divided into groups based on age, and the instruction is age appropriate.

She noted that any aquatic facility can register to take part.

“That is the whole point of a community pool – to teach drowning prevention and drowning safety,” Dickinson said. “That’s really our whole reason for existing.”

The Cape Coral Yacht Club Community Pool is at 5819 Driftwood Parkway.

For more information, call (239) 574-0806.

Sun Splash Family Waterpark is at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.

For more information, call (239) 574-0558.

“We are pleased to have both of Cape Coral Parks and Recreation;s aquatic facilities participate in this global event,” Steve Pohlman, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said in a statement.

“It is an excellent way to help raise awareness about drowning prevention, which is particularly important in communities like Cape Coral that are integrated with water,” he said.