By Molly Weeks Crumbley
Swimming lessons save lives. However, in a survey conducted in 2020, the American Red Cross discovered that 56 percent of Americans can’t swim at a basic level. That’s a statistic that the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson is trying to change.
An annual event launched by the World Waterpark Association in 2010, the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL) was created with the goal of building awareness about the importance of swim safety and education. Since the event’s creation in 2010, more than 332,000 children and adults on six continents have participated.
The Calvert County Parks and Recreation staff have coordinated community participation in the WLSL since 2018, hosting an average of 100 participants each year.
“WLSL is so important because it brings awareness to the issue of water safety for all individuals, but especially today’s youth,” says Director of Parks & Recreation Shannon Nazzal. “According to research released by the American Academy of Pediatrics last year, drowning has become the single leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4—number one, ahead of car accidents, birth defects and cancer. Swim lessons provide individuals with the skills necessary to save their own lives when found in or around a body of water.”
This year’s free lesson takes place Thursday, June 23 at Cove Point Park Pool in Lusby (10-10:30 a.m.) and Edward Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick (6-6:30 p.m.). Participants can register in advance or in person 30 minutes before the start of the lessons. Registered participants under the age of 17 at Cove Point can enjoy free admission for the remainder of the day, and all registered participants at the Hall Aquatic Center can swim for free until 8:45 p.m.
“It is never too late to learn how to swim and stay safe around the water,” stresses Nazzal. “CCPR offers swim lessons to all ages from 6 months old to seniors. The adult swim lessons have actually become very popular lately, with 20 individuals enrolled in the 2022 spring adult swim lessons ranging in age from their thirties to sixties.”
World’s Largest Swimming Lesson: wlsl.org.
Calvert County Parks and Recreation: Facebook/Instagram @CalvertCountyParks or call the Aquatics Division at 410-414-8350.