Youth attempt to break world swim lesson record

ESCANABA – A total of 48 youth attending Summer Day Camp at the Northern Lights YMCA – Delta Program Center in Escanaba had the opportunity to participate in a large-scale special event Friday – a swim lesson with the goal of setting a Guiness World Record.

At 11 a.m. Friday, eight YMCA certified instructors started lessons with students ranging in age from five to 12 years old.

The half-hour lesson followed a schedule suggested by World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL) for all venues.

According to YMCA spokesperson Paddy Fitch, the lesson was taking place simultaneously with other lessons around the world.

The event is part of the WLSL, which is in its fifth year of attempting the world record for ‘largest simultaneous swimming lesson at multiple venues.’

This was the first year the Y has taken part.

The goal of this year’s event was participation of approximately 40,000, with a total of 26 countries and 48 states registered to take part.

The main purpose of the WLSL isn’t only to break a record.

According to Fitch, the lesson is intended for fun and excitement, but also with the important purpose of keeping children safe around water so they don’t become a statistic.

According to a fact sheet provided by the WLSL, drowning is the second-leading cause of death for youth 14 years old and younger.

Youth participating in the record attempt received a wrist band and certificates. Parents of the swimmers went home with a list of water safety tips and a sheet explaining what they should know to keep their children safe in and around water.

To mark the end the lesson, youth and their instructors shouted the important message: “Swimming lessons save lives.”