TEMPE, Ariz. - Shannon Huminski will be the first to tell you that swim lessons for children pay off.
In March, a scenario that, in other circumstances, may have been ended in tragedy, became a source of pride for 4-year-old Patrick Huminski and a cautionary tale for his mother.
Patrick was near his pool, with his father not too far away, when he reached in to grab the thermometer in the water and fell in.
The water was frigid and Patrick was fully clothed, including a diaper and shoes.
Instead of quietly sinking to the bottom, as too many children do, Patrick’s training kicked in.
“Thankfully he rolled over into the "airplane," did elbow, elbow, knee, knee to get out of the pool and he was fine,” Shannon Huminski explained.
According to the World Waterpark Association, a group that advocates for swim lessons for children as little as two-months-old, swim lessons can reduce a child’s risk of drowning by 88 percent.
Shannon saw the proof with her own eyes.
“I was sitting outside the pool enclosure, because my husband was with him in the pool enclosure and I just ran to the gate worried that I have to get him and my husband was there to get him out, but he (Patrick) did it on his own," she said.
The story became a point of pride with Patrick, telling all his instructors at SwimKids USA how he pulled himself out of the pool.
Patrick’s story is just one reason why SWIMKids USA joined The World’s Largest Swim Lesson, a worldwide event to raise awareness of childhood drownings.
“We’ve lost six children (in Maricopa County) already this year and we lost one child last week, we lost 14 children last year, so swimming lessons are imperative,” said Lana Whitehead, President of SWIMKids USA.
Friday, an expected 45,000 people took part in The World’s Largest Swim Lesson, hoping set a world record for the seventh straight year.
SWIMKids USA offers free swim lessons to children from two-months-old to seven-months-old in an effort to reduce childhood drownings locally.
“In Maricopa County, we’re one of the nation’s leaders in drowning,” Whitehead said. “It’s very important that everyone in Maricopa County get swimming lessons for children and start at a very early age.”