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Local pools help set record for world’s largest swimming lesson

Posted: September 3, 2013 4:53 p.m.
Updated: September 3, 2013 4:53 p.m.

Instructor Miguel Cervantes, center, teaches Gavin Fangonil, 9, left, and Joshua Norfleet, 8, to float as they participate in the 2013 World's Largest Swim Lesson last June 18 at the Academy Swim Club in Valencia. Signal file photo by Jonathan Pobre

SANTA CLARITA - Santa Clarita Valley pools were among the hundreds worldwide last June that splashed their way into smashing the world record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson, an exercise meant to prevent drowning by teaching young children how to swim.

Local residents participated in the event at the Newhall Park pool and the Academy Swim Club in Valencia.

An estimated 32,450 participants took swimming lessons in 432 facilities in 13 countries on June 18 to set the record, according to information posted on the website for The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.

That mark has been certified as a Guinness World Record.

It was the fourth time that a record-setting swim lesson had been attempted.

“Our goal was to get the word out and the end result was more people signed up for swim lessons,” said Lance O’Keefe, the city’s aquatics supervisor.

O’Keefe said Tuesday that the risk of drowning can be reduced by early education, particularly by learning CPR, taking swim lessons and practicing safe habits in and around water.

The Academy Swim Club also participated in the June event, said Gloria Locke, spokeswoman for the club’s aquatic safety awareness program.

“We wanted to participate in something global that would bring the message home,” Locke said Tuesday.
Plans are already under way for next year’s event, which will seek to improve on this year’s record. The 2014 event will be held June 20, according to officials.
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