Friday, June 10, 2011

Children Encouraged to Join Guinness World Record Attempt

City children between the ages of one and 14 are invited to join the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities and other children at sites around the world to help set a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™.
All children need to do for a chance at becoming a world record holder is come to the department’s Swansboro Pool at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14, and participate in the swimming lesson which will take place at 11 a.m. (3 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time) simultaneously around the world. The Swansboro Pool is an indoor pool located at 3160 Midlothian Turnpike.
Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities is participating in the global event to help spread the message that swimming lessons can save lives. Drowning is the second largest cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 14. In addition, research shows that if children don’t learn to swim before the third grade, it is likely that they never will.
“The importance of learning to swim is a message that is critical to us,” said Richmond’s Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Dr. Norman C. Merrifield. “With the James River serving as a major attraction in Richmond and the department operating 10 swimming pools, it’s extremely important to us that we teach children how to swim as well as provide lessons in water safety.”
Richmond’s fire chief concurs. “Our water rescue teams are involved in numerous rescues every year,” said Chief Robert A. Creecy. “I would encourage every parent to make sure that their children learn to swim and know about water safety.”
The World's Largest Swimming Lesson™ is an event designed by a coalition of the nation’s leading water safety and training organizations to build awareness for and draw attention to the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning. The inaugural event held in 2010 established the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson ever and included almost 4,000 participants in 34 states, five countries and three continents. Tragically, the threat of childhood drowning is even greater around the globe.
Thousands worldwide will be participating simultaneously this year in the same 45-minute swimming lesson in the attempt to set a new Guinness World Record. The lesson, developed by a team of leading water safety and swim instruction professionals, will be an easy-to-follow beginner lesson to allow for the broadest participation possible.
Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities will follow up by offering two “Learn to Swim” camps for children this summer. In addition, the department provides swimming lessons year-round on Tuesday and Thursday nights at its indoor Swansboro Pool. For more information or to register for the summer camps, call 646-1126 or 646-1441. To register for lessons at the Swansboro Pool, call 646-8088.
To learn more about the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™, visit To learn more about the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities aquatics programs, visit