USA SWIMMING LAUNCHES MAKE A SPLASH CAMPAIGN
Organization Aims to Reduce Childhood Drownings, Fight Obesity
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –The Make a Splash campaign, a major public service initiative of USA Swimming, will launch today. The campaign is aimed at decreasing the number of drowning accidents in the U.S., fostering greater diversity in the sport and encouraging people of all ages to embrace swimming as a direct route to a healthier lifestyle. The first phase of the Make a Splash campaign will be executed through a number of new programs and partnerships.
Nine people drown in the U.S. every day, and drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death for American children. African-American children are considered especially at risk, as they experience drowning rates that are nearly triple the national average . USA Swimming believes that the only effective way to reduce drownings is by ensuring that all children learn to swim.
In addition, the Make a Splash campaign will promote swimming as a healthy activity that can increase fitness and thereby reduce the risk of more than 30 obesity-related illnesses. Today’s children are the most inactive in history , and as a result, 1-in-3 children world-wide are at risk for obesity-related illnesses.
“The Make a Splash campaign has identified some very curable epidemics in our society, in drowning and a lack of physical fitness,” said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming’s executive director. “To me, the most exciting aspect of this campaign is that we are taking on a major effort to use our sport to help improve the quality of people’s lives and to help make communities better. In doing this, we are also going to ensure that the sport of swimming becomes increasingly relevant in American society.”
The comprehensive program includes the announcement of a national spokesperson, awareness-raising promotions surrounding a major motion picture, a retail partnership, an in-school education program, and the opportunity to sponsor swim lessons for at-risk children. The campaign’s elements are detailed below.
USA Swimming Names Spokespeople
USA Swimming has named Jim Ellis and five-time Olympic medalist Janet Evans as spokespeople for the Make a Splash campaign. Ellis is a USA Swimming coach and the subject of the Lionsgate film, PRIDE, opening March 23. The biopic stars Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (Crash, Hustle & Flow), who plays Ellis, and Bernie Mac (Ocean’s 11, Ocean’s 12) as the janitor who helps shape his program. The film chronicles Ellis’ life as a charismatic schoolteacher in the 1970s who changed lives forever when he founded an African-American swim team in one of Philadelphia’s roughest neighborhoods.
“Swimming for me has always been an outlet for positive experiences, and I’ve seen the impact first-hand that it can have on one’s life,” said Ellis. “From making sure that our kids are safe in and around the water, especially in ethnic communities, to sharing the joy and fitness benefits it offers, swimming really can make a difference. When I first began coaching at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, we gave kids the opportunity to try something new, a sport they didn’t have the opportunity to experience on their own. Providing kids with these life-changing and potentially life-saving skills is what motivated me to make a difference. Now, through the Make a Splash program, everyone has the opportunity to make a difference.”
A three-time Olympian, Evans is the owner of five Olympic medals, four of which are gold. Her world records in three distance freestyle events have stood for nearly 20 years. A native Californian, Evans is a successful motivational speaker and mother to a 3-month old baby girl.
Exclusive Pre-Release Screenings of PRIDE
Together with Lionsgate, USA Swimming will host 27 pre-premiere screenings of PRIDE in swimming communities across the nation. The screenings will take place between February 26 and March 1.
Screening markets include Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Austin,Tx., Boston, Colorado Springs, Colo., Houston, Minneapolis, Minn., Orlando, Fla., Portland, Ore., Seattle, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Los Angeles, Sacramento, Calif., San Diego, Tampa, Fla., New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.
** Media interested in attending the screenings should visit makeasplash.org/media for details.
Sponsor a Swim Lesson
USA Swimming and Speedo have teamed with Sports Authority to donate a portion of Speedo sales during the month of March to the Make a Splash Sponsor a Swim Lesson program. The program will provide swimming lessons to at-risk kids in select communities who otherwise could not afford them.
Make a Splash Heroes
Any successful public service campaign depends heavily on its grassroots army. The Make a Splash campaign is working to identify people who have made a difference through the sport of swimming. Through education, motivational coaching or life-saving rescues, these local heroes truly embody the Make a Splash initiative. Heroes will be recognized on the program web site, and in their local communities. USA Swimming is encouraging the members of the general public to nominate their own local heroes at makeasplash.org.
Make a Splash In School
USA Swimming has teamed with Discovery Education to spread the message of water safety to kids in 25,000 schools across the USA this spring. Schools and PTAs will receive educational materials with water-safety curriculum for incorporation into lesson plans this swim season.
Supporters can show their commitment to the cause by wearing the Make a Splash water drop. Make a Splash-branded products are available at makeasplash.org/store and include lapel pins, bracelets, t-shirts and more. A portion of proceeds from all sales will be donated back to the campaign.
Ten Ways to Get Involved
USA Swimming offers several avenues for people to get involved in the Make A Splash program. By visiting the program website, makeasplash.org, members of the public can help themselves, their families, and even sponsor a swim lesson for a child who could otherwise not afford it.
1. Take the first step and find a place to learn to swim, and then help every member of your
family to become safe in the water.
2. Create the opportunity for an at-risk child to learn to swim by sponsoring a swim lesson.
3. Donate to the campaign and show your support when you purchase a Make a Splash product from the online store.
4. Purchase Speedo “Begin to Swim” products at The Sports Authority stores between March 8 and April 1. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Make a Splash campaign.
5. Introduce swimming as a regular part of your exercise routine.
6. Download the Make a Splash In School materials and teach your kids and their classmates about water safety.
7. Find and join a learn-to-swim or competitive swim program at any of 2,700 USA Swimming clubs across the country. Makeasplash.org offers a searchable database of programs.
8. Download the USA Swimming Water Watcher Card for your next pool party or social gathering, to ensure that a responsible adult always has an eye on the pool.
9. Talk about the program and encourage others to get involved.
10. Nominate your “local hero” on the Make a Splash website.
o Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children between the age of one and 14. (Centers for Disease Control, 2003)
o Nine people drown in the United States every day. (CDC)
o Two-thirds of all drownings occur between May and August. (Orange County California Fire Authority)
o Approximately 75% of child drownings occur because of a lapse of adult supervision of less than five minutes.
o African-American children between the ages of five and 19 are 2.6 times more likely to drown than Caucasian children in the same age group. (Centers for Disease Control, 2003)
o In the swimming pool, African-American boys, between the ages of 5-19 are 12-15 times more likely to drown than their Caucasian peers. (National Institute of Health, 2001)
o Less than 1% of USA Swimming’s nearly 300,000 members are African-American, and less than 3% are Hispanic.
About USA Swimming:
USA Swimming is the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States. As such, USA Swimming is the official representative to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and to the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur or FINA. In this role, USA Swimming is responsible for organizing and training the U.S. Swim Team for international competition including the FINA World Championships and the Olympic Games. The USA Swimming national headquarters is located at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
About the USA Swimming Foundation: Established in 2004, The USA Swimming Foundation uses the sport of swimming to save lives and improve communities. Focusing its resources on issues like drowning prevention, the youth obesity epidemic and promoting diversity within the sport, the Foundation also seeks to grow the sport so that future generations can benefit from all that competitive swimming has to offer. Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., the Foundation is governed by an independent board of directors and is led by three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines.
Original article found on www.aeawave.com