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Birch Bay Waterslides was part of the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. Here’s why

International swim lesson draws dozens of young swimmers to Birch Bay

More than 40 swimmers participated in the World's Largest Swimming Lesson event at Birch Bay Waterslides in Birch Bay, Wash., on Thursday, June 20, 2019. The international event promotes teaching children to swim and drowning prevention.
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More than 40 swimmers participated in the World's Largest Swimming Lesson event at Birch Bay Waterslides in Birch Bay, Wash., on Thursday, June 20, 2019. The international event promotes teaching children to swim and drowning prevention.

More than 40 young swimmers participated in the international World’s Largest Swimming Lesson Thursday, June 20, at Birch Bay Waterslides in Blaine.

The event, co-sponsored by the Whatcom County Health Department, Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2 and the Healthy Youth Coalition North County, promoted the importance of teaching children to swim as well as drowning prevention.

According to The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson’s website, drowning is “the second leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for U.S. children ages 1-14.”

As a water-oriented community, it’s essential that everyone can access events like this one, Luis Flores, Whatcom County Health Department employee and swim instructor, told The Bellingham Herald.

While this is Birch Bay Waterslides’ third year participating in the event, The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson event was first held 10 years ago in 2010.

The 2018 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson drew 41,814 children from 27 countries, according to the event’s website.

“For the first year, we were the only ones north of Seattle,” Flores said. “So, I was pretty proud of that.”

Iain Buchanan, general manager at Birch Bay Waterslides, hopes the area can eventually invest in an indoor pool facility that would offer swimming lessons year round.

Lacey Young is a visual journalist who interned at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center and Minnesota Public Radio. She’s a University of Montana graduate and life-long Washingtonian.
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