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WRJ Pool Participates in ‘World’s Biggest Swimming Lesson’

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) – Swimmers around the world hit the pool Thursday for the world’s biggest swimming lesson, and a White River Junction swim center was part of the fun.

It was a fun day at the pool for a group of children from the Upper Valley. Thursday was the 13th largest annual swimming lesson in the world and the upper valley aquatic center opened its doors to the public to take part.

“It promotes water safety and the fact that learning to swim saves lives, and I sincerely believe in that,” said Karen Cox of the centre.

Throughout the day, groups of 20 people hit the pool for a lesson in water safety and swimming, including five-year-old Hawaa Baqi from Lebanon.

“We read about this greatest swimming lesson and were already thinking about taking his swimming lessons. So we thought, why not take the opportunity, that sounded good,” said Hawaa’s father, Yaser. He says they moved to Lebanon from Washington DC not long ago. Hawaa has already taken swimming lessons and they would like her to continue learning. “As the Upper Valley has so many lakes, so many rivers, we wanted to be able to swim together all the time… We think that’s important because we don’t want there to be any accidents.”

And despite the entertainment value, Cox says safety is the determining factor when it comes to attending this event every year. “It’s the only sport you can literally connect with and it saves your life. You just need to be safe around the water. Everyone needs to be safe around the water,” she said. Cox says they hoped to complete the top 100 lessons during the day, despite the staffing shortages most pools are experiencing right now. “Our goal this year was to teach 104 lessons and I think we could go to 115, 120.”

Due to staff, the event was only open to children this year, although Cox is also encouraging interested adults to come to the pool for help. “It’s always good to learn safety techniques, to learn to float, to learn to walk. Even if you can’t do laps, it’s still great to get that experience, she said.

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