Photos: Bay Area kids learn in world’s largest swimming lesson

School’s out, summer is here and so returns the splish splashing of kids who took part Thursday in the big swimming lesson at South Bay Shores Water Park at Santa Clara’s Great America.

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Dozens participated in lessons that took them from lying dry on their stomachs in the sun beside the pool to floating on their backs in the water. South Bay Shores joined hundreds of waterparks, aquatic centers and swim school across the country in the event billed as the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.

Organizers created the event in 2010 to raise awareness about the importance of teaching kids and parents how to prevent drowning. Since then more than 332,000 children and adults have participated in the lifesaving swimming lessons, according to World Waterpark Association.

The Kansas-based trade association estimates that hundreds of swim instructors in 14 countries and 42 states across the U.S. have taught tens of thousands of kids water safety skills through the annual event.

Research released by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2021 shows drowning has become the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4. It also remains the second leading cause of unintended injury related death for kids ages 4-14 and the third for adolescents ages 15-17.

According to the World Health Organization,  drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths worldwide.

In the U.S., there are an estimated 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings each year, including boating-related drowning, according to CDC data ranging from 2010 to 2019. That averages out to 11 drowning deaths per day.

Evalyn, 3, lays on her stomach while learning some swimming exercises during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) Ethan Lopez, 8, left, and sister Amber Lopez, 6, right, learn some swimming exercises during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) Ethan Lopez, 8, center, kicks his feet to swim while being guided by lifeguard Justine Garcia, left, during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) Lifeguard Justine Garcia, left, teaches Makoa Murillo, 4, right, a swimming exercise during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) Skylar, 3, left, gives a high five to instructor Kim Rodriguez, right, during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) Ethan Lopez, 8, holds his breath during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) Kids kick their feet will learning to swim during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) Lead instructor Sydney Williams, right, speaks with some kids during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) A kid loses their shoe in the water during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) Evalyn, 3, holds on to her mother Colleen during the 13th annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at South Bay Shores at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) 

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