Florida A&M University’s Aquatic Center hosted its third annual “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson” on June 18 to teach people of all ages how to swim and the importance of water safety.
FAMU Aquatic Center Lifeguard, Will Barker illustrates how vital it is to not be afraid of the water, but to respect it.
“You have to have respect for water. You have to understand that it is an element and it is powerful. In knowing its power, you can learn to respect it,” said Barker.
The Department of Children and Families reports that so far in 2015, there have been 33 drownings in the state of Florida.
FAMU’s Aquatic Club is looking to lower these statistics by offering events like this.
Shaun Johnson, a lifeguard at FAMU’s Aquatic Center explains how to ease those who are fearful of water during their first lessons.
“If they are timid, I go with them to the middle of the water. I explain to them that I will not let go and I try to build trust,” said Johnson. “It is important for them to trust you while teaching water safety and learning how to swim.”
Parents of children understand the importance of learning to swim, especially in Florida.
Sabrina Hayes, a mother of one, took her child to the “World’s Largest Swim Lesson.”
“We are pretty much surrounded by water in Florida. It’s important to realize that swimming is fun, but you can get hurt,” said Hayes.
Lifeguards helped attendees feel comfortable by easing first timers into the water with games like water basketball and relay games.
The event included 30-minute shifts for groups to learn how to swim collectively.
The Aquatic Center had a total of 150 guests in attendance.