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Olympians teach kids swimming and pool safety

By Natalie Brunell, KESQ News Channel 3 & CBS Local 2 Reporter, Natalie.Brunell@kesq.com
Published On: May 10 2014 07:47:11 PM CDT

Olympians teach kids swimming and pool safety.

PALM DESERT, Calif. -

It's getting hot outside and more people are hitting the pools, making swim safety a priority right now.  For that very reason the Palm Desert Aquatic Center hosted its second annual "Just Add Swim" event.

"It's not every day you get to have a swim lesson from an Olympian so we thought it was a great opportunity to come out," said Paula Vorwald of Palm Desert. Vorwald's daughters, Vanessa and Victoria learned to swim at an early age.

"Living in the desert everyone has to know how to swim as young as possible. And we want to continue to make sure we feel safe when they're in the pool," Vorwald said.

They joined thousands of locals for a day of free swim lessons and some tips on how to stay safe in the water.

"It's always on our mind because when they go in our backyard there's always potential of them falling in the pool," Vorwald said.

Accidents can happen even to the most vigilant parents and while supervision is the best way to prevent drowning, teaching tots to swim adds a deeper sense of security. 

"Drowning is the number one killer of children under four in the United States. We drew a line in the sand," said Stephen Little, founder and CEO of Swim to Win, which organized the event.

"The younger we can teach them to swim and be safe in the water, the better off we're going to be," said Van Tanner, mayor of Palm Desert.

And who better to teach the basics than some Olympic gold-medalist swimmers?

"We have olympiads from every game from 1976 to 2012 and one of them has already qualified for 2016 Olympics," Little said.

"There are a lot of pools out here in the desert," said five-time gold medalist Aaron Peirsol, who swam in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics. "You want to be able to enjoy it and not really think about it."