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Idaho Swimmers Make A Splash To Help Break World Record

About fifty kids check in at a pool in Eagle Thursday to be a part of the World’s Largest Swim Lesson.

Shannon Hamrick owns FLOW Aquatics swim school and organized the event. “Everybody around the world has to do the same lesson plan, or use variations of the same lesson plan, and cover all of the skills we need to accomplish in a 45 minute time period.”

The goal is two-fold.  To break the world record for the largest simultaneous swim lesson.  And…“To promote water awareness, water safety, swim lessons, can’t get too safe around water.”

Just before 9 o’clock, the kids file into the pool area.  The countdown to the worldwide lesson begins.

The kids break into small groups.  Each group has a swim coach.  They start the lesson with pool safety rules.

Hamrick keeps everyone on task.  Each part of the lesson has to be taught at just the right time, to correspond with the thousands of other swimmers doing the same thing around the world.

Yolanda Hanson brought her six-year-old twins, Adam and Sophia.  She’s serious about making sure her kids know how to swim.  “Every subdivision, every business area has a pond, a water feature, a crick, an irrigation canal and it was just important to know that these guys would be safe.”

Safety is the main reason Jake Ellis is here.  “The swim lessons that they’re teaching not only teach kids how to swim, but they teach ‘em how to survive.”

Ellis agreed to be an official witness, one of two required by the Guinness Book of World Records to document the event.  He’s also a Battalion Chief with the Boise City Fire Department.  “In my career, I’ve had the incidence of preforming CPR on a drowning, two-year-old drowning victim.  And I only need to do that once.”

Ellis says in that case, the child died in the Lucky Peak Reservoir.  He says it takes just seven seconds for a child to start to drown.  “Two year old’s next to the Reservoir, you can turn your back for what seems like a minute, truly seems like a minute, but it’s 53 seconds too long for someone who doesn’t know how to swim.”

That drowning affected Ellis so much, he made his son start swim lessons when he was four-years-old.  Now he’s eleven, and a strong swimmer.  Ellis says he supports the world’s largest swim lesson whole-heartedly.  “I hope we do two things, one is break the record, but also get the message out.”

After 45 minutes in the water, the lesson ends.  The world’s largest swim lesson involved swim groups in 13 countries and 45 states.


Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio