Swim lessons offered free for kids

Nine people drown every day in the United States. A local club is partnering with a program of the USA Swimming Foundation to help change that statistic by raising awareness of drowning and water safety.

Island kids can get swim lessons free this summer. Swimmers will be placed in one of six lesson levels based on their skill in the water, and each group lesson can have up to six swimmers. The Make A Splash swimmers will be in the same lessons as paying lesson-takers.

“All Vashon families should teach their children to swim and learn water safety,” said Gary Gray, Make A Splash Vashon program director for Vashon Aquatic Club and its Seals Swim Team.

To help parents, the club has teamed with USA Swimming Foundation and local program partner Vashon Park District, to provide free American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim and Water Safety Classes at the King County’s Vashon Pool this summer.

“We are very grateful to the Vashon Park District commissioners and staff who recognized this important community safety and health issue and for providing funding to support this program,” said Travis Shaw, Seals Swim Team president.

This is the second year of this program. Last year 27 public and private school students on Vashon took advantage of this opportunity.

“Last year we targeted third and fourth grades. This year we are going to include the second-graders in the program,” Gray said. “The target for this year is 45 kids, which is not unrealistic based on statistics from a similar program offered in Seattle a few years ago.”

The timing of this program is crucial as two-thirds of all drowning occur between May and September.

Make a Splash is the national child-focused water safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation. The initiative aligns the nation’s top learn-to-swim resources in an effort to raise awareness of water safety and provide opportunities for all children to learn to swim.

For more information on Make a Splash, visit More information regarding “Make A Splash of Vashon” is available at

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