HUDSON – Water safety was the theme for the morning of June 17 at the Veterans Memorial Park.
Pasco County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources invited area youth to participate in the world’s largest swimming lesson, a promotional event designed to raise awareness of the importance of teaching children to swim and prevent drowning. Swimming lessons were held at pools across the United States and around the world on June 17, and Pasco Parks and Rec Aquatics coordinator Alicia Szilagyi said it was good to be back after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Getting a big group out like this and being able to reach so many people in 30 minutes is just great,” Szilagyi said a few minutes before the Hudson event. The other place in Pasco County hosting the biggest swimming lesson in the world was at the Seal School of Swimming in Wesley Chapel.
“I love it because the first 10 minutes we talk about water safety and we educate them on what to do in an emergency,” Szilagyi said. “I feel like education is sometimes forgotten and water safety is so important in general.”
This year’s event in Hudson drew nearly 70 young people enrolled, and Pasco Parks and Rec had nine swim instructors in the pool in addition to lifeguards on duty overseeing the lessons.
The children were divided into nine groups based on their age, and the instructors walked them through a series of safety techniques, such as entering and exiting swimming pools properly, calling for help in an emergency, and helping someone. one to get out of the pool.
The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson was established in 2010 by the World Waterpark Association as a global public relations event supported by water facilities, water parks, swimming pools, swimming schools, YMCAs and other entities. According to WLSL.org, “the event serves as a platform to help the global aquatic industry work together to raise awareness of the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning.”
In addition to being able to once again host the global water safety event, Szilagyi said the veterans’ memorial park pool has returned to full capacity – a maximum of 150 guests at a time. COVID limited swimming lessons to one-on-one and private sessions last year, Szilagyi said, but group sessions have returned.
More information on daily swim rates, season passes, and lessons can be found on the county’s website at PascoCountyFL.net/3323/Veterans-Memorial-Park-Pool.