"World's Largest Swimming Lesson" takes over three Gainesville Pools

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- Behind Alaska and Hawaii, Florida is yet again one of the deadliest in the country when it comes to the number of drownings. That's according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To help prevent these tragic deaths, the group behind the "World's Largest Swimming Lesson" has made it a mission to teach children and adults alike how to swim.

On Thursday, lessons were held at three Gainesville area pools: Andrew R. Mickle Pool, Dwight H. Hunter Pool and H. Spurgeon Cherry Pool.

For many parents, it was about more than just a day at the pool. It was about saving a life.

"As a parent I try to be prepared and stay informed and make sure my kids are always in the best situation possible and water safety is one of them because they love water and they didn't always realize the dangers of getting in water and not being prepared and as a parent it's my job to make sure they're prepared," said Khadija Camps.

2019 marked the 10th anniversary for the "World's Largest Swimming Lesson." Gainesville has participated in nine of those years.

"If we have one kid that learns one thing and that may have an effect on them later in, you know a canoeing accident or something, that happens to them tubing down the river which are all things that happen in the summertime especially here in Florida," said Scott Chase, the Program Coordinator for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.

Children said they learned a lesson they will never forget.

"Make sure you're near an adult when you swim even if you do or don't know how to swim," said Miyah Camps, who learned how to swim.

City leaders also warned people about the heat. They advise people to stay hydrated at all times.