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Adults need drowning prevention too!


Coach Kenneth Rippetoe


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Kenneth is the founder and head coach of One with the Water, a nonprofit swim school that offers need-based scholarships to children with special needs, adults, low-income families, and service-disabled Veterans. He is a certified US Paralympic Disabilities Swim Coach and a strength and conditioning coach.

In light of recent devastating news regarding CNN Host Don Lemon's family, we'd like to reiterate the importance of adult swim lessons! Drowning is preventable, and swim lessons help tragedies like this 


From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. 8 of those were adults. Additionally, in the period between 1999 and 2005, Drowning death rates decreased over time for all age groups except for adults aged 45–84. 


Over half of drowning victims who do survive and require emergency treatment need hospitalization for more care. (Compared to 6% for other accident-related injuries). Nonfatal accidental drowning can cause severe brain damage, resulting in permanent disabilities. (CDC Statistics)



According to a national survey done by the American Red Cross, “Overall, the survey finds that more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills” (American Red Cross, 2014, para. 6). Adults continue to be at risk, especially when swimming alone. 


There are varying reasons people may not have the basic swim safety skills.  Lack of access to a pool or body of water is a real concern for many who live in remote or low-income areas. Additionally, most of our adult clients had been thrown into pools or water when they were children and, unfortunately, don’t get over it until they come back to us decades later. Other primary reasons include traumatic events and negative memories associated with the water. 


Several years ago, I had a client who was terrified to put his face in the water. He used to be an avid surfer and scuba diver, until he suffered a traumatic event on a routine dive. He got caught in a rip tide off the shore of an area in Malaysia. He screamed for help, but it seemed like no one heard him. Scared he was going to drowned, he was finally rescued. From then on, he never got back into the water. At least until his daughter was born. He wanted to be able to get over his fear of the water so he could one day take her swimming. That’s an important thing to note, because if a parent does not know how to swim, there is only a 13 percent chance that a child in that household will learn how to swim. (Source: National research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis) 


To mitigate risk, the best thing you can do is learn to swim! It’s never to late. We should always be challenging ourselves in order to fulfill our emotional, physical, and intellectual potential. 



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