By USA Swimming Communications | Saturday, June 2, 2018
The USA Swimming Foundation kicked-off its 10th annual Make a Splash Tour presented by Phillips 66 today in Washington, D.C., by setting a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® record for the World’s Largest Kickboard. This gigantic kickboard, which is 10 times the standard adult size board at 18 feet high by 11 feet wide, will serve as a larger-than-life petition for all Americans to urge Congress to add the question, “Do you know how to swim?” to the 2020 Census.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14. The Make a Splash Tour presented by Phillips 66 will visit four cities nationwide during June to raise awareness around the importance of learning how to swim.
The kickboard serves as reminder for parents to enroll their children in swim lessons, and for Congress to add this critical question to the 2020 Census in order to gain an accurate count of a family’s ability to swim in the U.S. All are encouraged to sign the petition by visiting http://bit.ly/swimfoundation.
“Learning to swim changed the course of my life forever,” USA Swimming Foundation Ambassador and six-time Olympic medalist, Missy Franklin said. “This record-setting moment is designed to further the awareness of the importance of making sure children achieve the skills they need to build their confidence in the water and in life.”
Make a Splash Tour Presented by Phillips 66
This GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® moment kicks-off the USA Swimming Foundation’s 10thannual Make a Splash Tour presented by Phillips 66, which aims to save children’s lives through swim lessons. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research has shown that formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88 percent.
The Make a Splash Tour takes place throughout June and brings USA Swimming Foundation ambassadors, Olympic medalists and elite athletes to four cities across the country to educate children, parents, communities and civic leaders on the importance of learning to swim. The 2018 tour will visit:
- Washington, D.C. (June 1-2, 2018): with Olympians Missy Franklin, Cullen Jones, Rowdy Gaines, Andrew Gemmell, and Sports Illustrated Kids' SportsKid of the Year, Reece Whitley
- Seattle, Wash. (June 4, 2018): with Olympians Nathan Adrian and Rowdy Gaines
- San Francisco, Calif. (June 6, 2018): with Olympians Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Cullen Jones, Ryan Murphy and Rowdy Gaines
- Orlando, Fla. (June 13, 2018): with Olympians Cullen Jones, Ryan Lochte, Caeleb Dressel and Rowdy Gaines
“The USA Swimming Foundation has made its mission to offer children in America the life skill of swimming regardless of race or financial circumstances,” USA Swimming Foundation ambassador and four-time Olympic medalist,” Cullen Jones stated.
To date, more than 6 million children have received swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Local Partner network, which is comprised of more than 850 qualified swim lesson providers across the country. The USA Swimming Foundation has set an annual goal to provide at least 1 million children with swim lessons this year through its local partner network. To find a swim lesson in your area, visit the Foundation’s lesson locator: www.usaswimmingfoundation.org/find-swim-lessons.
“Safety is a core value for Phillips 66, and we believe child drownings are preventable,” Phillips 66 Manager, Corporate Brand and Creative Media, Tami Talbert Walker said. “We are proud to sponsor the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Tour to keep kids safer in, on, and around the water this summer.”
Since 1973, Phillips 66's contributions have supported the USA Swimming community through National Championships and other international competitions, publication of club development materials, and many additional endeavors. The Make a Splash Tour, which the company has sponsored since the program’s inception in 2009, is a natural extension of its dedication to safety.
“With the support of Phillips 66, the USA Swimming Foundation is able to educate parents and children about the importance of learning to swim,” Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation, Debbie Hesse said. “We’ve seen an increase in the number of children participating in swimming lessons through the Local Partner network. We look forward to continuing to grow and surpassing the 2017 1 million children milestone this year, and every year moving forward.”
Alarming Drowning Statistics
- Drowning claims the lives of approximately 3,500 people per year, with nearly 25 percent being children under the age of 14. The problem is particularly prevalent in ethnically diverse communities, where the drowning rate is almost three times the national average (CDC).
- Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the CDC.
- African-American children drown at a rate nearly 5.5 times higher than their Caucasian peers, as reported by the CDC.
- Drowning is a silent killer—most young children who 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.