President's Message

President's Special Project 2018-2020

The Problem

            According to the Center for Disease Control, every day approximately ten people in the United States die from unintentional drowning.  Of these, two are children age 14 or younger.  Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.  South Carolina ranks 14th for deaths due to drowning according to the Center’s data, last compiled in 2016.

            The main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use, and seizure disorders.  A recent Red Cross survey found that people believe they are better swimmers than they really are.  While 80%  of Americans said they could swim, only 56% of these self-described swimmers can perform all five of the basic skills needed to save their life in the water.  These skills are the ability: (1)  to step or jump into the water over your head; (2) return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; (3) turn around in a full circle and find an exit; (4) swim 25 yards to the exit; and (5) exit from the water.  If you are in a pool, you must be able to exit without a ladder.

The Solution

            Drowning is a preventable death.  We need to teach water competency like we teach basic first aid skills.  Taking part in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years.  But, you are never too old to learn to swim. Children need to be watched around all water—the bath tub, swimming pool, ocean, or lake.  The adults watching the children need to be able to swim competently themselves.

The Resources

            There are several nonprofits that support swimming safety and provide material via their website. 

American Red Cross:  Longfellow’s WHALE Tales
https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/teach-water-safety/whale-tales-resources
Do your part and be water smart!  Free resources for K-6 educators, such as videos, tutorials, lessons plans, posters, and worksheets are available here. 

USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Initiative
https://www.usaswimmingfoundation.org/
The USA Swimming Foundation partners with learn-to-swim providers, community-based water safety advocates, and national organizations to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim. The focus is on swim lessons for children.

USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation
https://www.usms.org/about-usms/usms-swimming-saves-lives-foundation
This foundation focuses on helping adults who do not know how to swim.  April ti Adult Learn to Swim Month. 

Lowcountry Aquatic Project Swimming (LAPS)
http://sclaps.com/
Lowcountry Aquatic Project Swimming (LAPS) provides water safety and swimming instruction to kindergarteners and first graders in Charleston County Title 1 schools. LAPS currently serves 15 schools and 1,400 children and has 25 CPR, First Aid, and Swim Lessons University certified instructors.  Lessons are taught in eight (8) thirty-minute sessions and are offered in both the fall and spring semesters of the school year.

Club Project Ideas

  • Sponsor a child or adult for swim lessons at  a local facility
  • Share Water Safety Tips with Area Schools, Daycares, Churches
  • Raise Money for a “Swimming” Nonprofit
  • Support one of the 200 High School Teams in the State by volunteering to time at a meet, or provide drinks and snacks, or raise money for equipment.
  • Donate Swim Suits, Googles, Caps and Towels to the local pool providing swim lessons
  • Take a survey of your members to assess their swimming competency, then support members to learn the five basic skills