USA Swimming News

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

USA Swimming Foundation Surpasses 5 Million Children Served with Swim Lessons Through Make a Splash

Missy MAS

The USA Swimming Foundation announced today that in its first 10 years, more than 5 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through its 850-member Make a Splash Local Partner network.

Through the Make a Splash initiative, the USA Swimming Foundation provides the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim – regardless of race, gender or financial circumstances.  The USA Swimming Foundation partners with learn-to-swim providers, community-based water safety advocates, and national organizations to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim.

“The impact Make a Splash has had over the past 10 years is astounding. We are so proud of the progress we have made and the impact we are having through our partners across the country” said Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “We know there is still a long way to go as we strive to ensure every child has the skills necessary to be safer in, on, and around the water; and 5 million children learning to swim is a significant step in the right direction.”

Ten people drown each day in the United States, and drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 14. With 64 percent of African-American children, 45 percent of Latino children, and 40 percent of Caucasian children with low or no swimming ability, the USA Swimming Foundation has a goal of providing swim lessons to 1 million children annually through the Local Partner network by December 31, 2017.

As the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming, the USA Swimming Foundation works to strengthen the sport by raising funds to support programs that save lives and build champions in the pool and in life. Thus far, the USA Swimming Foundation has provided over $4.5 million in grants to Make a Splash Local Partners for free and low-cost swimming lessons nationwide to spread national awareness on the importance of learning to swim and bring together strategic partners to end drowning.

Make a Splash Local Partner swim lesson providers promote water safety education in their communities and provide scholarships for children to participate in their swim lesson programs. In 2007, Make a Splash began with just one Local Partner, Carmel Swim Club in Indiana, and has since grown to serve more than 850 partners in all 50 states.

Buffalo City Swim Racers is the Make a Splash Local Partner that provided the 5 millionth swim lesson.

“At Buffalo City Swim Racers, we’re proud and honored to have the five millionth swimmer associated with the Make a Splash initiative come from our program,” said Mike Switalski, Executive Director, Buffalo City Swim Racers. “Thanks to the support of the USA Swimming Foundation, along with the generosity of local contributors and our collaboration with the City of Buffalo, Buffalo City Swim Racers has provided free swim lessons to over 400 children in Buffalo, New York, since 2013. We look forward to our continued partnership with the USA Swimming Foundation to share the sport of swimming with our diverse community."

To find, get or give a swim lesson visit

Alarming Drowning Statistics

  • Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with nearly 25 percent children younger than 14
  • According to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis:
    • 64 percent of African-American and 45 percent of Hispanic/Latino, and 40 percent of Caucasian children cannot swim
    • Only 19 percent of kids who come from a non-swimming household will ever learn to swim as found by the USA Swimming Foundation
    • 79 percent of households with incomes of $50,000 or less have little to now swimming ability
  • African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, as reported by the CDC
  • Drowning is a silent killer—most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time, according to the Present P. Child Drowning study

To learn more about the USA Swimming Foundation and Make a Splash program please visit

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