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Thousands of kids participate in 'World's Largest Swimming Lesson'

June is leading month for drownings

ORLANDO, Fla. – Children in Central Florida participated in a worldwide swimming lesson Friday at SeaWorld's Aquatica.

It's a hot summer day and many families spent time cooling off in the water. They were also breaking a world record at the same time.

"It's something we can solve. Swimming lessons literally save lives," said three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines.

More than 100 kids at Aquatica participated in the "World's Largest Swimming Lesson" Friday morning. In 24 hours, more than 45,000 children from across 24 countries are learning lifesaving skills.

"The basic skills, like learning how to be around the water and making sure you're aware of your surroundings, is really critical," Gaines said.

Event organizers add these skills are especially important because of where we live.

"In Central Florida, where there's so many aquatic facilities, private swimming pools, it's extremely important that the children of this community understand the importance of water safety," said Brad Gilmour, with Aquatica.

Parents tell News 6 they want to make sure their little ones are safe while playing in the water.

"They need to know the importance of being able to save their own lives if there's not an adult around," Nicole Delrio said.

"It makes me feel secure that they know how to swim," Christina Molina said.

But the biggest lesson isn't just for the kids. Instructors say parents need to pay attention when their children are in the water. Gaines says drowning can happen in minutes. He adds it is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14 years old.

"It doesn't take long, literally, going to check your laundry or check the door, check a text message and it happened. So you've got to be vigilant," Gaines said.


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