24,874. That was the number of participants needed for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson to break last year’s Guinness World Record for the Largest Simultaneous Swimming Lesson. This year’s event, held June 18, has shattered last year’s record with an official total attendance of 32,450, a 30 percent increase, said Aleatha Ezra, event coordinator of WLSL, and director of park member development at the Kansas City, Mo.-based World Waterpark Association.
The worldwide event spanned 13 countries and 432 host locations. The top three states were Florida, Texas and California. Brazil was the second largest host country outside the United States.
Janet Evans, Rowdy Gaines, Brendan Hansen and other current and previous USA Swimming National Team members participated in WLSL events this year as coaches and spokespeople to support the event.“The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson is a great way to send the message that swimming lessons save lives,” said Janet Evans, four-time Olympic gold medalist.
More than 58.5 million media impressions (print, radio, television) were generated in the United States, calling attention to the fact that formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children. The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson was created by the World Waterpark Association in 2010 and is supported by dozens of water safety organizations and media partners.
Next year’s event will be held Friday, June 20, 2014 at 11 a.m. EST. For more information, go to wlsl.org.