City Desk

Swimming For the Record Books

It's summer (in a week). It's hot (already). Kids splash, parents wade, college kids bask in their oversized sunglasses, and local neighborhood pools are the social watering holes of any given afternoon.

Today is a little different for the District, though.

Last year, 3,971 people in 73 locations around the globe attempted to set a record: The most people, all in different places, taking the same pre-choreographed lesson at the same time. Needless to say, they hit the Guinness Book of World Records; why else do thousands of people all over the world do anything at the same time?

This time around, the District joined in.

The Wilson Aquatic Center, the Deanwood Aquatic Center, and the Upshur Outdoor Pool all hosted part of the stunt today. "We wanted to make sure we got the message out that learning to swim and taking lessons is important," says Christopher Ashton, the D.C. Parks and Recreation Department's aquatics program coordinator. "Taking lessons saves lives."

About 75 Washingtonians took part in the global lesson today, which ran for 45 minutes starting at 11 a.m.. So D.C. made up less than 2 percent of the world's citizens concerned with water safety—or at least, concerned enough to get in the pool at precisely the same moment as their fellow citizens.

So if any employees or coworkers come back from their early lunch smelling like chlorine, you now know what's up.

Swimming lessons are offered in D.C. at 17 different sites, all available by contacting DPR's Aquatics Division.

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