For the second year in row, the York YMCA's southern branch will participate in an attempt to break the world record for the largest swimming lesson.
The branch, located in Shrewsbury, will join thousands of other swimmers around the world Friday morning in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record feat, which stands at 32,450 participants from 13 countries.
Last year was the first time the branch got involved in the effort, which is organized by The World's Largest Swimming Lesson group, said Rebecca Carver, the branch's aquatics director.
Last year, 119 students and staff participated in the swimming lesson, Carver said. This year, the branch is hoping to have at least 125 participants for the 30-minute lesson.
Each registered location has a specific time for the lesson, so they happen simultaneously. The Shrewsbury branch lesson will run from 11-11:30 a.m. and include participants from the YMCA's Camp Discovery, which includes children ages 5 to about 13.
Carver said the branch started participating last year because the record attempts fit in well with the YMCA's goal of helping to prevent water-related deaths among children.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children ages 1-5, and the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. But the statistic that struck Carver is that if children don't learn to swim before third grade, they likely never will.
"We really want to give every child the opportunity to learn how to swim," Carver said.
The southern branch holds a swimming program each spring, and the record-setting attempt will kick off the Camp Discovery swimming lessons that happen once a week, Carver said.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.