LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Mar. 28, 2011 – Guests visit Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon for thrills like the Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster and Gang Plank Falls. This June, they’ll hit the water park’s wave pool to help break a world record and spread an important message about teaching children to swim.
“We were honored Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park will once again serve as the official headquarters location for a second record-breaking World’s Largest Swimming Lesson,” said Jean Gallagher, director of water parks for Walt Disney World Resort. “At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts we have a strong commitment to water safety and the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson is a reminder to guests of all ages that when they step in the water we want them to have fun and be safety smart at the same time.”
Last year’s inaugural World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, hosted by Walt Disney World Resort, established the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson when almost 4,000 participants across 34 states, five countries and three continents participated to build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning.
To help spread the message about the importance of learning to swim, the worldwide safety and accessibility team at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has produced a popular DVD, Disney's Wild About Safety with Timon and Pumbaa: Safety Smart in the Water. In the DVD, Timon and Pumbaa help children learn that fun in the water starts with safety. Hundreds of copies of the DVD were distributed at last year’s event.
Tragically, drowning is the second leading cause of unintended injury related death of children ages 1-14 in the United States. In fact, more than one in four fatal drowning victims is a child under the age of 14.
Research also shows if a child doesn’t learn to swim before the 3rd grade, they likely never will. The threat of childhood drowning is even greater outside the U.S.
Olympic gold medal swimmers Rowdy Gaines and Janet Evans once again serve as official spokespeople for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. Evans will encourage swimmers at a remote site in California, while Gaines will kick off the event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and serve as master of ceremonies.
“I’m thrilled to be working with The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson for the second year to help spread the word that swimming lessons save lives,” said Gaines. “Learning to swim and the exposure to the water safety messages that swimming lessons offer provide a fundamental first step in drowning prevention.”
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