By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item
DANVILLE — The Danville Area Community Center will participate for the first time in an attempt to set a record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson.
On Tuesday, thousands of people across the world will be part of the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.
The Danville lesson will be from 11 to 11:30 a.m. in the center indoor pool.
This is the fourth consecutive year there will be an attempt to set a new Guinness world record, according to center executive director Jean Knouse.
The record is 24,873 swimmers from 15 countries on five continents.
Tuesday is also when Dr. Steve Marks and his son Randy, 16, of Montour Township, expect to paddle board past Bloomsburg and Danville. They are trying to be the first to paddleboard the entire length of the Susquehanna River. The Marks are community center members. Dr. Marks’ sons, Randy and Sean, 13, learned to swim at the community center.
They are raising money for the center, at 1 Liberty St., and to rebuild the 2011 flood-ravaged Kidsburg playground in Bloomsburg’s town park.
Knouse hopes 100 youngsters will register for the simultaneous lesson. Forms are available at the center and at www.thedacc.com.
The lesson will be for children up to age 14. The cost is $2. Participants will receive a bracelet and a prize.
It is important for children to learn to swim, she said, since drowning remains the leading cause of unintended injury-related death among children ages 1 to 5 and the second leading cause of accidental death among children 14 and younger.
Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children 1 to 4.
Knouse said the center is committed to teaching kids to swim regardless of their family’s financial means.
She said Prince William of England recorded a message recently supporting the Amateur Swimming Association’s vision that every child has the right to learn to swim. The association claims more than half the children in England ages 7 to 11 couldn’t swim 25 meters unaided, meaning slightly more than 1 million children are potentially unsafe in and around water. “Swimming is unique — it is the only sport that can save lives — which is why I’m so keen for school swimming to be accessible for all children at all primary schools,” Prince William said.
Contributions for the Marks family’s effort, which began June 8 and is expected to continue for three weeks, should be sent to the center at P.O. Box 125, Danville, and to Kidsburg at Box 432, Bloomsburg.