Olympian Elizabeth Beisel Interview for National Learn to Swim Day

by - 5/24/2017 06:04:00 AM

Have you heard of Swimways’ National Learn to Swim Day? I confess I hadn't! But I strongly believe that knowing how to swim can save lives.

Olympian Elizabeth Beisel Interview for Swimways National Learn to Swim Day

Note: I was invited as media to this event. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

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So I attended an event at Imagine Swimming hosted by Swimways and the USA Swimming Foundation to interview Elizabeth Beisel, three-time Olympian and USA Swimming Foundation Ambassador, about the importance of water safety and to learn more about National Learn to Swim Day.

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Meeting Elizabeth was an amazing moment. In part because she let me hold her metals. They are really heavy! But also because Elizabeth is passionate about bringing awareness to both the sport of swimming and the need to learn the skill of swimming in general. Especially for children.

Which considering the following facts and statistics is needed.

  • Fact: 10 people drown every day in America and drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 14 years old. 
  • Fact: learning to swim saves lives and reduces the risk of drowning by 88 percent.

Drownings in the U.S.: The Frightening Statistics

  • 64 percent of African-American, 45 percent of Hispanic/Latino, and 40 percent of Caucasian children cannot swim, according to a newly-released national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis
  • African-American children drown at a rate approximately 5.5 times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports
  • Drowning is a silent killer—most young children who have drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time, according to the Present P. Child Drowning study

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So how can we change this? This is what I spoke with Elizabeth about during our interview.

Onica (MommyFactor): How can parents encourage their kids to learn how to swim?

Elizabeth Beisel: For me I grew up swimming when I was six months old. That's when I first got into the water. And it can be scary at first jumping into that pool, putting your face under water, etc. But once you get over that fear, you have a life long fear that nobody can take away from you. So it's extremely important to learn how to swim.

In the beginning my mom didn't have to push me, I was having so much fun with my friends. And I think that's something that ever kid can relate to. During swimming lessons your with your friends in water having fun. And that's what swimming is all about.

It's great to win metals, but learning how to swim and having fun with our friends is really the root of why all Olympians get started.

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Onica (MommyFactor): What is one life lesson you learned from swimming?

Elizabeth Beisel: There's a million life lessons. One of the ones I took with me was time management. For me, swimming in college while balancing a social and school life, plus traveling for meets all the time can be hard. You have to sacrifice a lot.

But those sacrifices, through working hard and showing up everyday, are lessons I'll take with me into my next career. And those lessons are what I'll teach my kids. To work hard, stay humble and manage our time because it can be hard to balance everything.

Onica (MommyFactor): What do you do to relax when your not competing?

Elizabeth Beisel: I LOVE going to the beach. I grew up in Rhode Island, which is the ocean state, so for me going to the beach is like therapeutic. I know this sounds crazy but even being in the water, in general not in race, is therapeutic. Even if I'm not racing, I would love to be in the water whether it's surfing, jet skiing, whatever it is, just being on the ocean is sorta my thing to get away from the pool.

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During the event, I could really see Elizabeth's love for the water as she gave a private swim lesson with local children. The kids really enjoyed the lesson. Of course it helped that they had a few products from the SwimWays Swim Steps learn to swim product line.

Also since 2016, Swimways is an official sponsor of the USA Swimming Foundation since they share the mutual mission to share the message of the importance of learning to swim to help prevent childhood drowning.

Part of the USA Swimming Foundation’s mission is to provide low or reduced cost swim lessons so that every child in America has the opportunity to learn to swim. The Imagine Swimming Scholarship Fund received a $1,500 grant from Swimways and the USA Swimming Foundation to provide these low cost swim lessons for children in need.

As you can see, there's a need for Swimways’ National Learn to Swim Day so families can receive water safety education to help reduce the national epidemic of childhood drowning.

To learn more about National Learn to Swim Day, find water safety tips, learn to swim videos and Swim StepsTM learn to swim products, visit www.teachmetoswim.com or www.swimways.com

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