Swimming instructor Donny Gee, left, gives lessons to Lilly Nilson, 5, Tuesday at the Killeen Family Aquatics Center. More than 100 children participated in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record where thousands of participants from around the world simultaneously take lessons.
 
Jahmikel Morgan of Killeen, 9, learns how to float on his back with the assistance of swim instructor Scott Goble.
 
Swimming instructor Bruce Brown instructs children on how to move on their hands in shallow water Tuesday at the Killeen Family Aquatics Center.
 
Kristopher White of Killeen, 5, attempts a cannonball Tuesday at the Killeen Family Aquatics Center.
 
Children splash in the water as they wait their turn to take a ride on a boogie board Tuesday at the Killeen Family Aquatics Center.
 

By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald

The sound of splashing and children laughing set the summer mood as 104 students took part in the world’s largest swim lesson.

A group of students gathered at the Killeen Aquatic Center Tuesday morning to take part in the official World’s Largest Swimming Lesson event, which aimed to break the Guinness World Record for the largest swim lesson while promoting swimming safety.

“Last year we broke it, and this year we’re going for it again,” said Sundai Hein, aquatics supervisor. “This is the second year Killeen’s been involved. What we strive for is to teach kids safety in and around the water.”

Hein said the lesson coincides with one of many two-week lessons the city facility promotes all summer. To be part of the largest swim lesson effort, the lesson had to coincide with the other classes at locations across the country. It started at 10 a.m. and lasted 45 minutes.

At press time Tuesday, the WLSL was still tallying its results and did not release a final count. Last year, event organizers reported 3,971 participants representing 34 states and five countries.

Head lifeguard Bruce Brown said the city gives lessons throughout the day. It was his responsibility Tuesday to work with the beginners, teaching them to tread water and float.

“Usually when they’re young, they’re either really shy and afraid of water (or) had a hard time adjusting to water,” Brown said. A lot of the children Tuesday had little experience in the pool, he said.

“I have one student who has yet to actually speak a word to me,” he said. “You have to get them in the water and start getting them to trust you so they don’t have to worry about getting wet or worry about breathing in water.”

Edward English said he came with his wife to bring his 7-year-old daughter, Abigail, to swim for the first time.

“We’ve always been in the shallow end,” he said. “Now she’s building her confidence up to where she can get in the deep end without being afraid.”