WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The World’s Largest Swim lesson came to Wilmington Thursday as the Nir Family YMCA hosted a series of swim lessons across the Cape Fear. The lessons are an opportunity for children and adults to learn valuable and potentially life-saving swimming skills.
“A lot of people are frightened of the water. So something, if they’re in the water, we want to teach that confidence and just how to float on your back and get to a safe place out of the water so that there’s less drownings in our community,” said Shannon Berg, Branch Director of the Nir Family YMCA.
This is the 12th year the World’s Largest Swim lesson has taken place, but the first time organizations in Wilmington have participated. The event comprises 24-hour swim lessons by combined pools and swim schools around the world.
“What we’re doing is really trying to educate the kids on water safety,” said Berg. “It’s really important since we’re around coastal communities that we’re teaching kids about water safety. And if something happens, they know how to get to the wall and everything.”
The Nir Family YMCA hosted swim lessons throughout the day at five different pools around Wilmington including the Robert Strange Pool and the YWCA.
Children from across the city were invited to participate in the event for free. Kids from the local Boys & Girls clubs were brought in via bus to participate in morning lessons. The instructors, some of them first-time teachers, include members of the Waves of Wilmington swim team.
“This is really fun because swimming is basically my life,” said Anna King, a swimmer-turned-teacher for today’s event. “Teaching other people how to enjoy the water and swim, it’s just really fun.”
Adults and parents enjoyed lessons in addition to their kids. Berg says swimming is a skill important for everyone to know in case they have to act quickly to save a life.
According to the CDC, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death among children under 14.
“We have water everywhere so swim safety is very important for our family and for everyone around this area,” said Jenny Spencer, a mother of four and board member at the Nir Family YMCA.
Spencer was excited to have her kids take part in the World’s Largest Swim lesson because of the all-around benefits a swim-filled education brings.
“Just a sense of, you know, accomplishment.” said Spencer. “Peace knowing that we can be around water without so much worry and my kids get the opportunity to help out and reach out to the community as well.”
To learn more about World’s Largest Swim Lesson, visit their website here.
The NSEA Swim Foundation, a nonprofit in Wilmington, hosts swim lessons every Saturday at the Northside Swimming Pool.
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