World Record Attempt Highlights Importance Of Swimming Lessons

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(Memphis) In an attempt to break a world record, thousands of kids in different places got a swimming lesson Tuesday all at the same time. One of the cities participating was Memphis, where statistics show that the majority of low-income families can't swim.

“Have you ever swam before?” asked reporter Sabrina Hall.

“Yes,” said 8-year-old Tyler Jones from Frayser.

“Did you know how to swim?”


“I feel good because I caught on fast,” said 13-year-old Kiara Carr.

“There are so many inner-city kids and children of color not around the water,” said Toni Holeman-Turner, who is with the City of Memphis and the Splash Mid-South program.  “Mom didn't know how to swim, dad didn't know how to swim, so therefore the kids don't know how to swim.”

It's a dangerous statistic in Memphis, where an estimated 68 percent of low-income families can't swim.

“My mama, she is scared of water,” said Carr.

Since many mothers and fathers are unable to teach the skill, Splash Mid-South is there to do the job for them.

“We have taken kids that were literally afraid of the water and now are actually competing on a national level,” said Holeman-Turner.

“I learned how to dive in the pool,” said Jones.  “And I learned how to swim underwater.”

Kids at the Bickford Pool Tuesday got invited back to take the two-week course aimed at helping make a trip to the pool not just survivable, but also fun.

“Do you think you could handle your own if you jumped in now?” asked Hall.

“Uh huh,” said Jones.

If you would like to provide your child with free or low-cost swim lessons, of if you need help learning how to swim yourself, click here.