Canada Creating Nationwide Learn-to-Swim Program

OTTAWA, Canada, June 20. FOUR national organizations are partnering to launch Getswimming.ca, the online home of the first ever Canada-wide initiative to teach every Canadian child to swim.

Swimming Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, Lifesaving Society Canada and the Canadian Medical Association have joined forces to form Canada's Swim Team. Canadians young and old who enjoy the many benefits of swimming can join the team at getswimming.ca .

“Swimming Canada is proud to be launching Getswimming.ca with these three great organizations,” said Chris Wilson, marketing and events director for Swimming Canada. “Of course every child that learns to swim is a potential recruit, but much more importantly they become more safe around water, more fit and more confident. We all benefit from a goal of teaching every Canadian child to swim.”

Any Canadian who loves to swim or wants to learn can join and help create the World's Largest Swim Team. It's free to join and members will receive a regular newsletter and have access to prizes, contests and event tickets.

Canada's Swim Team encourages every Canadian to learn to swim. The goal is for every child in Canada to be able to swim 25 metres non-stop before completing elementary school. Each year, Canadian children drown from not knowing how to swim or not being sufficiently supervised. The vast majority of incidents of drowning or near drowning are preventable.

“Basic swimming ability is a fundamental requirement in any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada,” said Ed Bean, communications director for the Lifesaving Society. “Learning to swim when you're young gives you a lifesaving skill for life.”

“The Canadian Red Cross is thrilled to be involved with the launch of Swimming Canada's Getswimming.ca initiative,” said Shelley Dalke, manager, national swimming and water safety programs for the Canadian Red Cross. “Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children younger than 10, but recent Canadian Red Cross research shows only 3 per cent of children who drowned in Canada were identified as strong swimmers. Swimming lessons save lives, and are particularly important in cases where a child enters the water unexpectedly, which is often the case in child drownings.”

Canada is also facing an epidemic of childhood obesity. Swimming is one of the best overall exercises for cardiovascular health, flexibility and endurance. Canada's Swim Team encourages Canadians to make swimming part of an active, healthy lifestyle.

“Canada is a nation of lakes, rivers and three seashores. Ensuring that all Canadian children can swim is critical for safety and to prevent injury and death by drowning,” said Dr. Anna Reid, president of the Canadian Medical Association. “Swimming also happens to be a tremendous way to get exercise. Initiatives such as getswimming.ca can also help reverse the rising obesity rates in our children. ”

Several announcements will be made throughout the site's official launch day Thursday, including a nationwide contest sponsored by IHG to send four people on a vacation anywhere in Canada or the continental U.S.

Canada's Swim Team will also be unveiling support from a variety of Honourary Team Captains who will be promoting the initiative on Twitter throughout the day.

Partners also include the Chicken Farmers of Canada. As the official protein of swimming in Canada, the Chicken Farmers of Canada are sponsoring a Team Kitchen page on the site to promote healthy eating alongside active living.

About Swimming Canada

Swimming Canada serves as the national governing body of competitive swimming. We inspire Canadians through world leading performances to embrace a lifestyle of swimming, sport, fitness and health. The federation comprises 75,000 members and 400 swim clubs across the country. Canadians are global leaders in high performance swimming and development for both able-bodied swimmers and swimmers with a disability.

About Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross is a leader in teaching Canadians swimming and water safety skills. The Canadian Red Cross has been helping to keep Canadians safe in, on and around water since 1946. For more information about Canadian Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Programs, or for safety tips, visit www.redcross.ca/swim.

About the Lifesaving Society Canada

The Lifesaving Society — Canada's lifeguarding experts — works to prevent drowning and water-related injury. Annually, over 1,000,000 Canadians participate in the Society's swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard and leadership training programs. Contact your local pool or visit: www.lifesaving.ca.

About Canadian Medical Association

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 77,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations. CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World Magazine. It has been posted in its entirety without editing. Swimming World offers all outlets the chance to reach our audience by contacting us at Newsmaster@swimmingworldmagazine.com. However, Swimming World reserves the right to choose what material is posted.

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