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Chicago Joins Effort To Stage World’s Largest Swimming Lesson

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CHICAGO (CBS) – All 73 Chicago Park District swimming pools hosted swim lessons on Friday, in hopes of helping set a Guinness World Record.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports hundreds of pools and water parks around the world were teaming up to take aim at the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.

More than 24,000 people took part in last year’s record breaker.

“We’re expecting to see anywhere from the high 30-thousands to 45,000 people,” Chicago Park District beaches and pools manager Eric Fischer said.

At 10 a.m., all of the Chicago Park District’s swimming pools will hold swimming lessons simultaneous with pools from 21 nations.

“It will take a couple of months to tally those numbers. We’re expecting anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 kids coming out to our pools,” Fischer said.

The larger message of the event is the need for people to learn how to swim, because it can save their lives. Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental deaths for children 14 and younger.

“There’s people that for some reason – and it’s unfortunate – they don’t have the fear of the water. You know, it’s a beautiful opportunity to use the water, have fun when you’re on vacation, but you need to know your limits,” Fischer said.

Starting next week, the Park District is providing free swimming classes to kids between the ages of 6 and 13 if they’ve never had lessons before.

Fourteen-year-old Angelo Brown was learning how to swim, with encouragement from his father, Rodney.

“It’s extremely important,” the elder Brown tells CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker. “I never want to get a call saying my son drowned.”