DOTHAN, Ala. (WSFA) - With the recent hot weather, you’re not alone in looking to cool off by the pool. Thursday, Dothan Leisure Services took part in the the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson event.
Thousands will participate in the event over 24 hours at an estimated 500 locations - three of those locations at Dothan pools - and in more than 20 countries.
In small groups swimmers sit patiently on the pool’s edge at Walton Park waiting to get into the water.
“We’ve been learning how to kick, float, and blow bubbles out of our nose,” said one young swimmer.
One-by-one they work with a swimming instructor learning the basics.
Brandi Ash stands near the pool closely watching her son Landon.
“I think that it’s imperative for all children, regardless of age, to learn to swim,” said Ash.
After a water scare with Landon a few years ago she’s been adamant about getting him into swimming lessons.
“His first year when he was doing T-ball, the coach at the end of the year had a party for them at his house and there was a pool there,” said Ash. “We turned away to go fix the children’s plates and Landon and another girl fell in the pool.”
“My mom pulled me out,” Landon recalled. “I was scared.”
A drowning tragedy averted for their family, but one so many others experience.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning remains the leading cause of unintended injury-related death for children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children aged 1 to 4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.
“Even if they don’t know how to swim perfectly, if they know how to flip over and float on their back, that could save their life,” said Alena Jones, aquatics instructor for Dothan Leisure Services.
In response to tragic swimming statistics, Dothan Leisure Services hosted free swimming lessons for children and adults Thursday.
“Drowning is silent. It’s quick and it can happen in 20-60 seconds. A child can go from actively drowning to being submerged in the bottom of the pool, so it’s important that you learn how to swim,” said Jones.
It’s Landon’s first step in learning swimming basics - a relief for his mom for the future.
“I don’t want that event to happen again and nobody be there to save him. He has some skills to know what to do," said Ash.
Dothan Leisure Services hosts swimming lessons year-round. If you are interested in taking a class, you can call 334-615-3755.