SURREY – Keep your legs straight when kicking. If your knees are bent, you won’t go very far.
This was the advice given to around 250 swimming students throughout Surrey on Friday (June 20) as the city participated in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest swimming lesson.
The lesson happened during Water Safety Week, an annual global campaign to educate people on water safety.
The event is held at pools and recreation centres across the world, but Surrey was one of the few cities in B.C. that participated.
Jeffrey Holland, the City of Surrey’s Aquatics Manager, said that staff
at the Newton Wave Pool brought the idea forward, and that they thought it was vitally important.
Holland said that the
reason for the lesson is “to make people aware of the importance of water safety” and being able to have basic swimming skills.
“There’s a lot of factors that key in on why people drown, and it’s really important for us to have those fundamental skills to
swim up to 50 metres, to fall in the water and orient yourself.
“Surrey residents, like everybody else in B.C., get
out into the water, and they don’t experience that every day close at home. So getting out in lakes, rivers and oceans during the summertime, certainly people are exposed to a different kind of swimming environment and it leads to a little more danger,” Holland said.
According to the Red Cross, approximately 525 Canadians die in “unintentional water-related fatalities” every year.