World’s Largest Swim Lesson event serves far greater purpose

We’ve heard of the world’s largest hug; even the world’s largest pizza. But what about the world’s largest swimming lesson? That lesson happened Thursday in Hayden and the local group involved has an important message to go along with it.

The World’s Largest Swim Lesson organization luckily already holds the title for the World’s Largest Swim Lesson. It’s lucky they do, as they can focus more on the purpose behind the annual event that this year saw 600 facilities in 20 countries participate, including Triple Play Family Fun Park in Hayden.

“It’s about saving lives. The leading cause of death in children 1 to 4 is drowning,” shared local organizer at Triple Play Jennifer Ross.

Sixty children signed up for the free swim lesson that taught the very basics from pool rules to blowing bubbles and what to do when you get tired. For some students like 4-year-old Daphne, it was the first time at instructional swim.

Daphne’s mother Cassandra Dehlbom explained, “I just want her to get more comfortable in the water.”

Dehlbom described her daughter as having no fear.

“I have a leash for her, actually. I have one of those like dog leashes because she’s a wild child. She’s a free spirit.”

While mom wants to encourage her daughter’s taste for adventure, she’s trying to establish some boundaries.

Cassandra added, “I’m just afraid we are going to be camping and she’s going to see a river and just want to run at it.”

“It can happen like that. Water is the silent killer. When you are underneath, you can’t come up, call for help. If nobody sees you, if the lifeguard isn’t doing their job it can end very badly,” explained Triple Play lifeguard Michelle Mills.

Lifeguards encouraged parents like Cassandra to get involved in the lesson, as parental supervision is another key component in preventing childhood drownings.

Mills shared, “I think the perception of lifeguards is that they are babysitters. If anything happens, it’s the lifeguards’ fault. However, we here at Triple Play have a policy that lifeguards are a secondary layer of supervision. Ultimately the responsibility of supervising a child is on the parent.”

Learning the basics, educating parents and hopefully getting kids in swim lessons year-round are the goals of the World’s Largest Swim Lesson. The last one, something Daphne tells KXLY 4 News she is already looking forward to.