International learn to swim day is coming up. Here’s what you need to know

(Southside Daily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Local company Swimways Corp. is launching its International Learn to Swim Day program on Saturday.

Company officials said they want to encourage parents and caregivers to take steps to ensure their kids learn to swim not only for fun, but for their safety.

The company founded National Learn to Swim Day in 2012 and have expanded internationally, all in an effort to teach families the importance of learning how to swim.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 4, and the second-leading cause for children younger than 14.

Furthermore, according to research conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation, 64 percent of African-American, 45 percent of Hispanic/Latino, and 40 percent of Caucasian children have little to no swimming ability.

“While swimming is an important life skill for kids to learn, it’s also a fun activity for families to enjoy together,” said Monica Jones, vice president of marketing for Swimways. “Swimways is passionate about making sure kids are safer in and around the water, and believes the pool should be a special place where families and friends can connect and relax.”

The benefits of learning to swim don’t stop with fun and safety, officials said.

According to a national survey commissioned by Swimways, more than four out of five parents understand that learning to swim by age 5 increases a child’s self-confidence, but 88 percent of parents are unaware it can also aid in the development of mathematical skills.

In addition, only 14 percent understand it can help develop oral expression, and less than half understand it can boost children’s social skills, according to the survey.

To celebrate Swimways’ International Learn to Swim Day events, they recommend these activities for parents and caregivers:

  • Get educated with the best resources available:

    • For learning to swim and water safety resources, click here

    • To find swim lessons in your area, parents and caregivers can click here to see a list of USASwimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner swim lesson providers

  • Incorporate swim training gear, water toys, pool floats and pool games to make learning to swim a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy together

To find a pool that offers swimming lessons near you, click here.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.