LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti launched SwimLA June 15, an initiative to double enrollment in swim classes across all city pools. SwimLA ensures that every young Angeleno between the ages of 4 and 17 has an opportunity to learn to swim by increasing the number of lessons offered and expanding the availability of swim scholarships.
“Every child should have access to sports and recreation — no matter their zip code,” Garcetti said. “SwimLA will help tens of thousands of children across L.A. learn to swim — a skill that helps keep them fit, strong and safe.”
According to the U.S.A. Swimming Foundation, 64 percent of African-American and 45 percent of Latino children don’t know how to swim. With drowning the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14, it’s important that children learn to swim and know how to be safe around all bodies of water.
“Our city’s youth programming during the summer months is a critical component to healthy, thriving families,” said City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who chairs the Arts, Entertainment, Parks and Los Angeles River Committee. “I want to thank the mayor for spearheading the initiative, and the Department of Recreation and Parks for keeping pools open longer to accommodate the additional swim classes. I look forward to working with all parties involved to ensure the success of this programming.”
Last year, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks provided 18,000 swim classes, taught by city-certified lifesaving professionals. With support from partners, the department will double the number of affordable swim classes available this summer — providing 36,000 classes. Nearly 50 city pools open this summer will increase daily hours of operation to reach this goal.
“I am privileged to oversee an aquatics division that is nationally recognized as a leading entity for swim instruction,” said Michael Shull, general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks. “Our lifeguards are equipped and eager to impart skills that participants will be able to implement for the rest of their lives, holding the same intrinsic value as a gold medal.”
As L.A. prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028, SwimLA is one of many new sports and fitness programs that will be offered to young Angelenos. Garcetti is dedicated to making Los Angeles one of the healthiest cities in the world — and it starts with SwimLA.
Four-time Olympic swimming champion Janet Evans said, “Congratulations to Mayor Garcetti and the Department of Recreation and Parks for launching SwimLA. I am thrilled that young Angelenos will have increased access to affordable, quality water safety instruction and also to see how this program will nurture the next generation’s passion for swimming and other aquatic sports. It would be the ultimate Hollywood ending to see one of SwimLA’s students develop into an Olympian, chasing gold in their own backyard in 2028.”
For more information on swim classes and to find your nearest pool, visit www.swimla.org.