ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - What better place to learn how to swim than the happiest place on earth?
Disney hosted more than 300 swimmers on Thursday as part of the “World's Largest Swim Lesson,” a global event. They even brought in star power to help: three-time Olympic gold medal swimmer, Rowdy Gaines.
“A lot of the world's largest swim lesson is making sure we raise that awareness about how water safety is such a critical issue,” Gaines said.
Gaines helped guide the swimmers at Disney’s Blizzard Beach.
“That's really simple as teaching a child how to float on their back, to maybe swim-float-swim idea of having a child swim a little bit then float on their back when they're tired, then swim again till they reach safety,” Gaines explained, “it's all about safety for us.”
Nationwide, more than half of Americans either lack basic swimming skills or can't swim at all. That's why Lucy Brown was here with her 3-year old son.
“They run off too quick, you can turn your back for a split-second and they're gone,” Brown said.
Research shows that the risk of drowning can be reduced by nearly 90 percent if children have swimming lessons between the ages of 1-4. Mark Dukes, Disney Water Parks general manager, said they're thrilled to help.
“We're putting kids in a position to where they can be safe and avoid any type of tragic incident.”
80 other sites in the State of Florida were also holding lessons, and they're also happening in nearly 30 countries around the world.