The sun was shining high in the sky. The guards were in position and ready, smiles and all. At 9 a.m. on Friday, June 24th, Splashway Family Waterpark was ready to help break a world record: The 7th Annual World’s Largest Swim Lesson.
The check-in team began welcoming the registered participants by giving them their bright blue wristbands (the designated color for world record-breakers) and writing their group number in bold marker on their hands. This would tell them which certified lifeguard would be teaching them during this historic swim lesson.
Participants—from babies to teenagers—waited eagerly to enter the gates and find their guard. Meanwhile, special guests greeted them: Ray and Mono the Monkey, who call Splashway home, and their friendly neighbors the Hallettsville Brahma, the Columbus Cardinal, the Chick-fil-A cow, and the Icee Polar Bear. The kids’ faces shined as they gave high-fives, hugs, and took pictures with these special characters.
One by one, the 640 participants found their guard—and their teacher—for the morning. While they waited, they splashed and played while their parents and their lifeguards carefully watched. Speakers in the park relayed messages of the importance of swim lessons in saving lives, as well as other important life-saving tips such as staying hydrated, applying sunscreen at the right time, and knowing when to call for help.
At 10:25 a.m., Splashway joined the World’s Largest Swim Lesson! During the lesson, each of the guards covered important basics with their group such as blowing bubbles, opening eyes underwater, floating, and more. The kids and their families both participated, making this a family-friendly event. Family members enjoyed holding their children on their backs as they floated, and one mom smiled from underneath her sunhat as she spun in circles with her son.
Per the rules of the Guinness Book of World Records, the swim lesson had to last 30 minutes. “Three…two…ONE!” Everyone shouted as they counted down the last seconds at 10:55 a.m. The celebration began: they had just helped Splashway try to break a world record, but more importantly help bring awareness to the fact that swim lessons save lives.
Celebratory pictures began. Wet children grinning from ear to ear exited the water to greet the mascots one more time and were congratulated with more furry high-fives and hugs. Participants enjoyed complimentary ICEEs and Mountain Dew from sponsors as they received their goodie bags and rested after all their hard work.
640 people learned swim lesson basics that day, up almost 200 from last year! Splashway’s biggest goal in participating in WLSL was to bring awareness to the world how important swim lessons are; drowning is preventable! Sadly, drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-14, but with facilities like Splashway recognizing the importance of swim lessons and joining the World’s Largest Swim lesson to bring awareness, this could change for the better.
Stay tuned for a total count of participants and hosts worldwide and Splashway’s ranking for number of participants!
Special thanks to Splashway’s sponsors for that day: Colin’s Hope, NASCO, All Star Mowing & More, ICEE, Mountain Dew, Chick-fil-A Victoria, ForEverlast, Texas State Rentals, KULM Radio, KIXS Radio, KTEX Radio, KMKS Radio, 96 FM Country, Columbus Community Hospital, The Victoria Advocate, The Hallettsville Tribune-Herald, The Colorado County Citizen, Blahuta Advertising, and CH Graphics.
Find out more information about WLSL here.
By: Kristen Henke