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City of San Diego hosts swim safer event to prevent drowning deaths

Posted at 7:45 PM, Jun 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-18 23:13:58-04

NORTH PARK, Calif. (KGTV) — Saturday, the City of San Diego and Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Deigo hosted a San Diego Swim Safer event at the Bud Kearns public pool in North Park.

San Diego Swim Safer is a public education campaign dedicated to preventing drowning deaths and injuries in San Diego County.

It aims to increase the knowledge of drowning prevention methods and access to swim lessons.

"Wherever there is water, there is risk," said Nicole McNeil, President of the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego.

Data from the county's Medical Examiner's Office shows an average of more than 35 drowning deaths every year since 2017.

This past Tuesday, a teenager was swept away by rip currents in Mission Beach.

"Most drownings happen in open water, so we want to make sure we can provide everyone with water safety education at the pool so that they're prepared for when they go to the ocean," McNeil said.

The event featured free swim lessons, CPR demonstrations, and water safety tips for parents.

"Water is safer when there is an active supervisor at all times. When pools are not in use, they should be guarded with fences," McNeil said.

Parents believe the event is just as important for them as it is for their kids.

"Safety's paramount, health is paramount, and when our kids know how to swim, we can all enjoy summer together and be around the pool more often," said parent Andres Godoy.

In the case of the missing swimmer, San Diego Fire-Rescue said lifeguards spotted three people struggling in the water.

Two were rescued.

Officials said the teenager went underwater and did not resurface.

They're still working to recover him.

"Water safety is one of the biggest skills that we can give our children, especially in San Diego living so close to water," said parent April Hunt.

McNeil said they plan to host more swim safer events throughout the summer, focusing on communities that lack access to water safety education.

"We want to eliminate barriers, so we are providing transportation, we are providing swimsuits, we are providing free swimming lessons," McNeil said.