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Swimmers go splashing for a world mark

Water safety event draws 34 participants for run at record

POSTED: June 21, 2014 12:37 a.m.

Flowery Branch swimmers pose after participating in The World's Largest Swimming Lesson at Dive Educators. Swim program manager Colleen Gilbertson, front row center, said the event was "to bring public awareness that drownings are unnecessary and swim lessons save lives."

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Thirty-four local swimmers and three instructors went swimming Friday in Flowery Branch to try to set a Guinness World Record and promote swim safety.

Billed as The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson by the nation’s water safety and training organizations, the fifth annual event’s message is that swimming lessons save lives. Simultaneous events were held at pools around the country beginning at 11 a.m. Organizers hoped for more than 40,000 participants, according to the website.

Swim program manager Colleen Gil-bertson laid out the ground rules for parents and kids at Dive Educators on Hog Mountain Road. She held last year’s event at her backyard pool.

“It’s bigger than last year,” she said. “And not the same people. I’m glad to reach out to more.”

Instructor Kristine Croft of in Cumming showed the swimmers how to use a polystyrene “noodle” to reach out to a struggling swimmer as the event got started. Swimmers practiced their poolside kicks, ducked underwater and opened their eyes before the better swimmers swam a lap.

Flowery Branch Boy Scout Troop 130 sold hot dogs, and Hall County Fire Services Station 8 firefighters brought one of their dive boats for swimmers to inspect.

Three people, including a father and son, drowned June 8 in Lake Lanier.

“This was part of our ongoing Community Risk Reduction programs,” said Fire Marshal Scott Cagle in an email.

Firefighters at Dive Educators said they hand out safety literature at area boating and swimming locations.
The official count for the record won’t be known until documents and photos are turned in, according to the website.


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