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Olympic gold medalists teach kids water safety

By Bianca Rae, CBS Local 2 Anchor & Reporter, brae@kesq.com
Published On: May 18 2013 07:26:50 PM CDT

 

PALM DESERT, Calif. -

As Katie Evans watches her son, Michael, take swim lessons, last year's incident isn't far from her mind.

"We were getting out of the pool and I took Michael out of his life jacket, turned around to dry my other son, and within two minutes, Michael was already back in the pool floating," Evans said.

After seeing Michael nearly drown,  she is serious about teaching her three kids water safety.

"It was so scary, one of the scariest moments of my life. Thank God he's ok . It happens really quick. Quicker than people think," Evans said.

So, she brought them to the Palm Desert Aquatic Center, where the family YMCA of the Desert hosted a special day with six world famous olympic medalists.   

"It teaches the kids the fundamentals of swimming and helps them not be scared of the water," Evans said.

Kids ages five and up had a chance at free swim lessons and basic water safety instruction from gold medalists Janet Evans, Rowdy Gaines, Aaron Peirsol ....among others.
     
"Drowning, water safety is a huge issue in our country. It's the second leading cause in accidental death in children," Rowdy Gaines said.

As kids eagerly lined up for autographs, high fives, and pictures with the olympians, it was clear they would listen to what these athletes had to say.

"You teach the kids what happens if you fall in the water, what is the first response you're gonna have. You teach them never to swim alone. That's a big problem kids jump in the water alone," Gaines said. "It does help when you have someone who has been there that has come into prominence in the sport of swimming. When a child looks at an Olympic gold medalist and gets to see the gold medal I think it brings a little more weight to it."

Evans hopes her kids always stay safe, and urges other parents to never be too careful.

"I thought I was careful enough. I swim with them in the pool. I have life jackets on. But you can never be too careful," Evans said.