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Swimways, the USA Swimming Foundation & Olympic Medalist, Elizabeth Beisel, Are Making Waves to Raise Awareness About the Importance of Learning to Swim

National Learn to Swim Day, on May 20th, Aims to Educate Americans on this Essential Life Skill to Reduce Childhood Drownings

VIRGINIA BEACH, VAMay 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - Fact: 10 people drown every day in America and drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 14 years old.  Fact: learning to swim saves lives and reduces the risk of drowning by 88 percent. Leading into the first official long weekend of the summer, May 20, 2017, marks the sixth annual Swimways' National Learn to Swim Day - an opportunity to remind Americans that learning to swim is an invaluable life skill and the best way to reduce the risk of childhood drowning. 

In recognition of the national day, held on the third Saturday of May each year, Swimways – a leading manufacturer of pool and outdoor recreation products and creator of the SwimWays Swim Steps™ learn to swim product line, and the USA Swimming Foundation – an organization whose mission is to save lives and build champions, in the pool and in life, held a press event this morning at Imagine Swimming in New York City where Elizabeth Beisel, three-time Olympian and USA Swimming Foundation Ambassador, gave a private swim lesson with local children and spoke with them about the importance of water safety. 

"I first took swim lessons when I was six months old because my mom wanted me safer around the water. Swimming is part of my everyday life and I absolutely believe in the importance of ensuring kids learn this critical life skill at an early age," said Beisel, two-time Olympic medalist and co-captain of the USA women's swim team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. "Once you learn to swim, a whole new world of opportunity is available to you. That's why I'm proud to work with the USA Swimming Foundation and Swimways' National Learn to Swim Day to bring more awareness of this important learn to swim message."

In 2016, Swimways became an official sponsor of the USA Swimming Foundation. This relationship was forged with the organizations' mutual mission to share the message of the importance of learning to swim to help prevent childhood drowning. Part of the USA Swimming Foundation's mission is to provide low or reduced cost swim lessons so that every child in America has the opportunity to learn to swimThis morning, the Imagine Swimming Scholarship Fund received a $1,500 grant from Swimways and the USA Swimming Foundation to provide these low cost swim lessons for children in need. Each year, these two organizations join forces on Swimways' National Learn to Swim Day to combat alarming childhood drowning statistics through water safety education to help bring an end to this national epidemic.

Swimways: Helping Children Learn to Swim for More than 50 Years
An industry pioneer in water safety, Virginia Beach-based Swimways first introduced learn to swim aids over a half century ago, with the still popular Swim Sweater™.  Today the company offers swimming aids for every age and level of confidence. As one of the few manufacturers in the industry that takes great measures to provide Americans the necessary resources so everyone is comfortable around water, Swimways' annual day is one more way of reinforcing the message that learning to swim is a life skill that everyone should have.  

"As a company, we strive to make swimming fun for everyone, but our goal is to always ensure safety is top of mind as well," said Anthony Vittone, senior vice president, Swimways.  "With our extensive line of Swim Steps™ learn to swim products, a library of resources we offer through our teachmetoswim.com website, as well as our partnership with the USA Swimming Foundation, we are able to provide multiple touch-points for parents to educate themselves on the importance of helping their children learn to swim."

"We have a solution to these frightening drowning statistics and that's swim lessons. By collaborating and combining resources with industry leaders like Swimways, we can provide the necessary resources and education to families across the country and raise awareness about the importance of learning to swim," said Debbie Hesse, executive director, USA Swimming Foundation.  "Swimways' National Learn to Swim Day is a perfect time to shine a spotlight on how we can continue to provide opportunities for every child to learn to swim."

Drownings in the U.S.: The Frightening Statistics
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children in the United States. In addition:

  • 10 people drown every day in the United States, approximately 25 percent of whom are children
  • 64 percent of African-American, 45 percent of Hispanic/Latino, and 40 percent of Caucasian children cannot swim, according to a newly-released national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis
  • African-American children drown at a rate approximately 5.5 times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports
  • Drowning is a silent killer—most young children who have drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time, according to the Present P. Child Drowning study

Local organizations and pools across the country will be holding fun and interactive events to recognize National Learn to Swim Day and engage community members in proper water safety skills.  To learn more about National Learn to Swim Day, find water safety tips, learn to swim videos and Swim Steps™ learn to swim products, please visit www.teachmetoswim.com or swimways.com.

About Swimways Corp.
Based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Swimways, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Spin Master (TSX: TOY;www.spinmaster.com), is a leisure and recreational water products manufacturer striving to make free time more fun through innovation. Swimways is rich in traditional values and respected for the quality and integrity of its products and services. With distribution in over 20,000 storefronts, Swimways markets three unique brands: SwimWays®Kelsyus®and COOP®. The company's diverse staff is passionate about developing fun and engaging products for kids. Swimways is equally passionate about making sure kids are safe in and around the water and believes learning to swim is an important life skill. In 2012, Swimways established National Learn to Swim Day, the third Saturday of May each year, dedicated to educating parents and children about water safety and the importance and benefits of learning to swim.  Swimways has been helping kids learn to swim for over 50 years - longer than anyone else (except parents, of course!). For more information about Swimways, visit www.Swimways.com.

About the USA Swimming Foundation
The USA Swimming Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming.  Established in 2004, the Foundation works to strengthen the sport by saving lives and building champions— in the pool and in life. Whether we're equipping our children with the life-saving skill of learn-to-swim through our Make a Splash initiative, or providing financial support to our heroes on the U.S. National Team, the USA Swimming Foundation aims to provide the wonderful experience of swimming to kids at all levels across the country. To learn more, visit www.usaswimmingfoundation.org.

** MEDIA NOTE:  A complete video b-roll package including audio soundbites and video clips is available here. For images from the event, please click here.

SOURCE Swimways Corp.

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