SURREY â€” Keep your legs straight when kicking. If your knees are bent, you wonâ€™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 Surreyâ€™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 â€œto make people aware of the importance of water safetyâ€ and being able to have basic swimming skills.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot of factors that key in on why people drown, and itâ€™s really important for us to have those fundamental skills to swim up to 50 metres, to fall in the water and orient yourself.
â€œSurrey residents, like everybody else in B.C., get out into the water, and they donâ€™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,â€ Holland said.
According to the Red Cross, approximately 525 Canadians die in â€œunintentional water-related fatalitiesâ€ every year.