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USA Swimming Foundation ‘Make A Splash’ Initiative To Host
Learn To Swim Event During International Swimming Hall Of Fame (ISHOF) Weekend In Fort Lauderdale On June 14, 2014
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Olympic Gold Medalists Janet Evans, Jason Lezak and Olympian Alia Atkinson Will Give Free Lessons During Water Safety Session

(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.), June 6, 2014 – The USA Swimming Foundation will host a “Make a Splash” water safety event during the International Swimming Hall of Fame weekend on Saturday, June 14, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at 11 a.m. at the ISHOF Aquatic Complex. Olympic Gold Medalists Janet Evans and Jason Lezak, as well as Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, will give lessons to children and promote the importance of learning to swim.

“Knowing how to swim can be the difference between life and death, as formal instruction can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent,” says Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation Debbie Hesse. “Through our more than two millions lessons and counting, USA Swimming Foundation continually provides essential skills to underserved populations.”

So far in 2014, Broward County, Fla. has had seven children drown under the age of five. Four of the tragic drownings were in apartment complex pools, with two having broken gates resulting in three fatal and one non-fatal drowning of two sets of twins. One of the seven child drownings also included an infant on a boat from Haiti.

“I’m proud to be involved with the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative to help spread awareness of this issue all over the country and make a difference for future generations,” says Lezak. “Growing up around so many pools and beaches, I always knew drowning was a problem and how invaluable learning to swim really was. As I became a father, I realized how big this epidemic is and wanted to do everything I could to help my kids become safer around the water.”

The Olympians will also host a USA Swimming Foundation Luncheon on the ISHOF complex, immediately following the water safety session.

The USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make a Splash” initiative is a national, child-focused water safety campaign. Through this initiative, the Foundation seeks to change the startling drowning statistics through three key efforts: save lives by teaching children the lifesaving skill of swimming through its national Make a Splash Local Partner Network, raise national awareness of the importance of learning to swim, and bring together a coalition of partners aligned to end drowning in the U.S. Currently, there are more than 600 Make a Splash local partners throughout the country and more than 2.2 million kids have taken swim lessons through the Make a Splash Local Partner network. The initiative has garnered high-profile media attention from various outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, CNN Heroes, The Doctors, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, and the NBC News award-winning piece “A Swimmer’s Mission” with journalist Tamron Hall.

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.

About International Swimming Hall of Fame
The International Swimming Hall of Fame & Museum (ISHOF) was established in 1965 as a not-for-profit educational organization in the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and was recognized by FINA, the international governing body for the Olympic aquatic sports, in 1968. The Mission of ISHOF is to PRESERVE and CELEBRATE aquatic history, to EDUCATE the general public about the importance of swimming as the key to water safety, drowning prevention, better health and a better quality of life, and to INSPIRE everyone to be a swimmer. ISHOF’s collection of swimming memorabilia, art, photos and films, along with archival documents and rare books in the Henning Library, make ISHOF the premier repository and academic research resource for swimming and aquatic history in the world.

For more information about USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative, visit:
www.usaswimmingfoundation.org/makeasplash

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