Louisville, Ky. - The award-winning USA Swimming water safety campaign "Make A Splash" makes its debut at the University of Louisville's Ralph Wright Natatorium on May 20th.

The new facilities will open its doors to elementary and middle school ages students from the community on Saturday, May 20th from 11:30 am-1:30 pm, to learn about water safety. This event is FREE to the public and will include: safety introduction, interactive stations with the lifeguard staff, and FUN swim with games and activities. Coaches from the Cardinal Aquatics Swim Team and instructors from the Cardinal Splash School will be on hand to speak to the participants and their families about swimming opportunities available at the Natatorium.

The "Make A Splash" campaign, now in its fourth year, was initiated by USA Swimming in response to the alarming number of drownings and near-drownings that occur every year. The initiative reaches out to children and families across the country in an effort to educate them on the importance of proper swim instruction and water safety.

These are a few statistics that demonstrate the need for action:

  • A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under.
  • 70% of all preschoolers who drown are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning. 75% are missing from sight for 5 minutes or less.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children between the age of 1 and 14.
  • Nine people drown in the United States every day.

Here is a small sample of tips/topics for parents and children:

  • Get involved in a good swim lesson program where proper strokes and safety skills are taught.
  • Always obey pool rules!
  • Always swim with another competent swimmer, and with someone on land close by watching you. Parents, be sure you are at arms length away from you children and watching at all times (rule out reading, talking on phone, alcohol). Although, always keep a cell phone close by in case of an emergency.
  • You and your family members must wear a Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device or lifejacket on a boat. The fit is vital!
  • Air-filled water toys such as water-wings, mattresses, and other plastic inflatibles are NOT life preservers! They are toys, and are made to deflate.
  • Know how deep the water is before jumping or diving in.

People can also participate in the campaign by joining children and families from around the country in signing the Water Safety Pledge at www.makeasplash.org/discovery, committing to stay safe in the pools during the summer. In 2005, more than 90,000 people signed the first-ever Water Safety Pledge.

USA Swimming has partnered with Discovery Communications, one of the most family-friendly and trusted national brands, to develop an in-school marketing program expected to reach students in 25,000 schools, five times more schools (and students) than 2005. All children can be involved in the campaign by signing the Water Safety Pledge and participating in the "Make A Splash" school sweepstakes. The grand prize is a celebration for the entire school featuring a visit from and Olympic swimmer as well as an exclusive sneak peak at an upcoming Discovery Kids show with free giveaways, and $1000 library of Discovery Education multimedia products.

Come out to the pool and join us for a day of swimming safety fun. For more information please contact the Cardinal Aquatics swim office at 493-1084. See you there!