SwimLA Aims to Teach Young Angelenos How to Swim This Summer

by the City of Los Angeles on June 18, 2019
Children having swimming lesson

Mayor Eric Garcetti today kicked off the second season of SwimLA — a program that ensures young Angelenos between the ages of 4 and 17 have an opportunity to learn to swim, by increasing the number of lessons offered citywide and expanding the availability of swim scholarships.

“When kids learn how to swim, they get a chance to do more than stay cool during the summer — they gain access to a life-saving skill that will keep them fit and strong,” said Mayor Garcetti. “If we want to build the healthiest city in the world, we have to start with our youngest Angelenos. This summer, we will meet that mission by putting a swimming lesson in reach for more than 40,000 children across Los Angeles.”

Last summer, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) enrolled 36,126 young Angelenos in swim classes — doubling the program’s 2017 enrollment. This year, Mayor Garcetti asked RAP to set sights even higher, with a goal of 40,000 participants by the end of the summer.    

To reach this goal, 51 City pools will offer lessons and expanded hours of operation; at 35 pools, the lessons will be free, while the remaining sites will offer subsidized programming.

“There are various forms of inequality and SwimLA helps kids who live in underserved neighborhoods like the one I represent,” said Councilman Curren Price. “All families, regardless of income or zip code, are entitled to equal access to recreation and sports programs. SwimLA doesn’t just teach our children how to be water safe, it also represents equal opportunity to be included and enjoy benefits that every child has the right to.”

According to the U.S.A. Swimming Foundation, 64 percent of African-American and 45 percent of Latino children don’t know how to swim; and 79% of children in households with incomes less than $50,000 have little or no access to swimming resources. With drowning the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14, it’s important that kids learn to swim and know how to be safe around a pool or any body of water.  

“L.A. City pools are a treasured resource for youth and families across Los Angeles,” said Michael Shull, General Manager, Recreation and Parks. “Learning how to swim is an essential life skill that will keep families active, healthy, and safe in all bodies of water.”

As L.A. prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028, SwimLA is one of many exciting new sports and fitness opportunities that will be offered to young Angelenos — and move the city toward its ultimate objectives for health, fitness, and safety.

“The physical, social and emotional benefits that come from playing sports should be available to everyone,” said 4-time Olympic swimming champion Janet Evans. “Anyone who wants to play, who wants a chance to compete or to learn, should be able to. That’s why I’m especially pleased to see Swim LA continue to expand access to swimming. The work happening in these pools will provide long-lasting benefits to kids across Los Angeles for their entire lives, whether they go on to chase gold medals, or to chase dreams in other fields.”

Online enrollment for SwimLA begins today. For more information on swim classes and to find your nearest pool, visit www.SwimLA.org