About 10 people drown every day in the United States, most of them adults or young adults, according to the CDC. U.S. Masters Swimming, with its adult learn-to-swim initiative, is on the front lines to reduce this statistic.
USMS is continuing its annual April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month campaign to directly reduce adult drowning by training and certifying adult learn-to-swim instructors and by providing grants to adult-swim-lesson providers through its charitable arm, the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation.
Since 2011, the foundation has awarded nearly $335,000 in grants to programs offering adult swim lessons across the country, including $88,000 in 2017 to 38 programs.
Many of the grant programs are run through U.S. Masters Swimming's swim clubs, and club-member volunteers assist USMS-certified adult learn-to-swim instructors in offering the lessons, especially during the month of April, before many pools, beaches, and lakes get busy during warm-weather months.
"The Adult Learn-to-Swim Month campaign gives our members and clubs a chance to give back by teaching more adults to become safer around water," says Bill Brenner, USMS's chief operating officer. "We know that when adults learn to swim, it makes a lasting impact since adults who swim tend to also enroll their children in swim lessons."
Brenner says educating instructors is critical to the success of adult swim lessons. "Traditional swim-instructor training is focused on teaching children. Adults learn differently than children do, and our curriculum teaches instructors how to communicate lifesaving swimming skills to adults."
The USMS Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor Certification Program, launched in 2015, will visit 24 cities this year. More than 800 instructors have been certified with 400 more anticipated by the end of 2017.
U.S. Masters Swimming encourages all its nationwide programs and members to participate in April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month by hosting ALTS classes in their communities and by donating to the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation, which is funded by voluntary contributions from the more than 65,000 USMS members and others.
Anyone interested in finding or offering adult learn-to-swim lessons is encouraged to visit usms.org/learntoswim.
About U.S. Masters Swimming: U.S. Masters Swimming encourages adults to enjoy the health, fitness, and social benefits of swimming by providing more than 2,000 adult swimming programs and events across the country, including open water and pool competitions. USMS's nearly 70,000 members range from age 18 to 99 and include swimmers of all ability levels. USMS, a nonprofit, also trains and certifies coaches and provides online workouts, a bimonthly member magazine, monthly eNewsletters, and technique articles and videos at usms.org.
About the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation: The Swimming Saves Lives Foundation is the charitable arm of U.S. Masters Swimming. USMS has been promoting the health and fitness benefits of swimming for more than 40 years. The foundation provides grants for adult learn-to-swim classes. For more information, visit usms.org/giving.