ROUND ROCK, Texas — A Central Texas pool took part in the ninth annual "World's Largest Swimming Lesson," or WLSL, where tens of thousands of kids and adults unite to make noise that swimming lessons save lives.
"You have to hold your breath," said 4-year-old Brooklyn Pryor, who took part in the event. "Then kick your legs and arms."
Brooklyn used to be scared of the water, now she swims in it almost every day.
"A drowning takes less than a minute in hardly any water," said her mother, Crystal.
She said seeing her daughter get close to the water still worries her.
"She's come a long way. Having an area like this is really important," Crystal said.
"I learned to swim underwater with my mommy," little Brooklyn responded.
The World's Largest Swimming Lesson event took place over the course of 24 hours at an estimated 600 locations in more than 20 countries.
Thousands of pools around the world took the day to teach a free, valuable lesson in swimming.
"Learning about water safety really prevents a drowning," said Mindy Benavides, who is a lifeguard at Rock'n River water park. "Drownings are one of the biggest cause of deaths among kids."
According to the WLSL website, in the U.S., drowning remains the leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14.
Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.
Benavides said dangers can happen at any place and at any time.
"Typically what we see is kids run to deep water without realizing it," Benavides said. "The best way to prevent a drowning is proper supervision."
Crystal said the swimming lessons are important, "even if they already know how to swim."
The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department offers swim lessons year-round. For details, click here.
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