Yogi Park Pool Site of Guinness Record Attempt
The 400-foot-tall water slides were tempting, but the swimmers at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort near Williamsport, Md., weren’t there to play: They were there to break a world record.
The Jellystone water park and the pool at Martin L. “Marty” Snook Memorial Park in Halfway were Washington County’s venues Tuesday (June 14) in The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. The event was designed to inform children about water safety and aimed to beat last year’s Guinness World Record of 3,971 participants from 34 states and five countries, the Herald-Mail, Hagerstown, reported.
This year, all 50 states and 12 countries were involved, according to the WLSL website, www.worldslargestswimminglesson.org.
Between the two local pools, Washington County added more than 80 participants to this year’s total.
“It’s for kids to learn how to be safe around water and how not to be afraid of water. When they get scared and panic, then it can become a much more serious situation,” said Jellystone General Manager Carrie Cirrito. “It’s so fun to be a part of it.”
Cirrito said the park was recruited by the World Waterpark Association, one of many organizations sponsoring the event.
Marsha Moats, program coordinator of the Washington County Recreation Department, said the Halfway pool was running a weeklong swimming program with Girls Inc. on the scheduled date and decided to get involved. Sixty-one girls participated with the help of eight swimming instructors, she said.
“We were just hoping to spread the word about swimming lessons and that they save lives,” Moats said. “It was super, super successful.”
The lesson plan provided by WLSL covered beginner curriculum, including entering the water, submergence, bobbing, floating and basic swimming techniques.
“It was very well organized. The handbook walks you through step by step. It made putting everything together pretty easy,” Moats said.
Jellystone instructors Kelly Harold and Tracey Artz said they had been preparing for the event for about a week.
“Water is fun, but water is dangerous,” Harold said. “(The kids) enjoyed it. Even though most of them knew how to swim, they said they still had fun.”
At Jellystone, participation was free for anyone older than 3. The 45-minute lesson started at 11 a.m., and swimmers were encouraged to stay and enjoy the water park afterward.
The Girls Inc. swimmers in Halfway divided into groups based on ability, and each group practiced different techniques.
WLSL participants have to carefully record the event in order to be part of the Guinness World Record, Cirrito said. Log sheets, witness records, photographs and videos are required.
The information is due next week, Cirrito said.
“I think the lesson went great. They learned a lot. I was very impressed with the teachers,” Cirrito said. “We had thought about offering swimming lessons before but decided not to. We may have to rethink that.”