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Thousands participate in world's largest swimming lesson

Splashes were heard around the globe Tuesday morning — including those echoing off the walls at the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA's indoor pool — as thousands of children and adults participated in the World's Largest Swimming Lesson.

Although final numbers on participation have not been released, it was hoped that about 35,000 people would take part in the event, staged simultaneously at 700 swimming facilities and water parks worldwide, to break the Guinness World Record of 24,873 participants. The effort was to bring attention to the fact that unintentional drowning is the one of the leading causes of death in children.

Heather Harris, aquatics director at the local Y, said about 25 children took part in the half-hour lesson that began at 8 a.m. in La Cañada. "We had ages ranging from 3 to 13," she said, with a few beginners taking part. "But there was a good handful that knew already how to swim," she said.

"I thought the event was a total success as I saw a lot of new faces and the kids were educated by our certified instructors on safety in the water. The feedback from the parents was great and all positive."

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CAROL CORMACI is the managing editor. Email her at carol.cormaci@latimes.com.

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