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Dozens of swimmers participated in an attempt at breaking the record for the world’s largest swim lesson on June 18 at the Galax Recreation Center’s indoor pool.
Beginning at 11 a.m., aquatics coordinator Trace Lumpkin led a class of 32 into the water for their lesson at the same time as other participating instructors in more than 700 locations around the world.
The current Guinness World Record is held by Team WLSL (USA), which tallied 19,322 participants in 235 locations throughout the world on June 14, 2011.
The reason behind this world-wide event, according to Lumpkin, is to introduce the public to why swimming lessons are important. “We will be doing a basic lesson, but it is more about creating lesson awareness,” he explained.
According to the official website for the event, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death of children ages one to 14. Further research revealed that children who don’t learn to swim before third grade will likely never learn at all.
“The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson is designed to provide local water parks, community pools and other aquatic facilities with an event that draws attention to this issue, encourages participation in swimming lesson programs and helps spread the word that swimming lessons save lives,” the website states.
A few text messages sent out by Lumpkin brought a sizable crowd that went over the 25-person minimum required by each host location. The crowd was a diverse mix of rec center staff, adults and children ranging from four to 17 years old.
When everyone arrived, Lumpkin began with a demonstration of how to enter and exit the water safely. The class then learned more of the basics, such as floating, kicking from the wall of the pool, putting faces in the water and freestyle swimming.
“Of course, some of them know how to do more than that, because they are on my swim team,” he added.
Everyone who participated in the event was required to finish the lesson in its entirety to be included in the final tally. Participants signed a log book and received a certificate for participating.
Participants witnesses included Keith Martin and Nicole Llamas.
Following this event, Lumpkin said that it would take a lot of time to get the required paperwork together for submission. However, he seemed positive about the turnout.
“I think we’re going to make it,” he said.