Tampa Kayaker Sunset

World's Largest Swimming Lesson

The 15th annual World's Largest Swimming Lesson takes place Thursday, June 20, 2024, and the City of Tampa is participating again, hosting lessons at four pools.

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson is a global drowning-prevention event launched by the World Waterpark Association in 2010. New to the program locally this year is support from Smile Like Aubrey, a non-profit organization that seeks to encourage drowning prevention awareness and to advocate for self-rescue swim skills.

"In 2020, during the early days of lockdown when everyone was still adjusting to working from home, our family experienced the worst tragedy anyone can: the loss of our beautiful 16-month-old daughter, Aubrey," said Smile Like Aubrey co-founder Matt Strojnowski. "We want to educate people, but we also want Smile Like Aubrey to be a celebration of her life. We want to do our best to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family."

Swimming is a life-saving skill for children and a vital tool to prevent drowning, the No. 1 cause of death for United States children ages 1-4, and second-leading cause for ages 5-14.

From 2013-22, there were 235 unintentional drowning deaths in Hillsborough County. In that same 10-year span, there were 4,244 unintentional downing deaths statewide (data from www.flhealthcharts.gov).

The World's Largest Swimming Lesson is taking place at four City of Tampa pools:

  • Copeland Pool, 11001 N 15th St. (media will be present)
  • Loretta Ingraham Pool, 1611 N Hubert Ave.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pool, 2200 N Oregon Ave.
  • Cyrus Greene Pool, 2101 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows risk of drowning can be reduced by 88% if children participate in formal swimming lessons between the ages of 1-4. But a survey conducted by the American Red Cross in 2020 found that 56% of Americans either can't swim or don't have the necessary basic swimming skills.