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Arizona Swimmers Attempt to Break World Record

Aug 07, 2008 11:51 ET

Event Raises Awareness for Water Safety and Drowning Prevention

PHOENIX, AZ–(Marketwire – August 7, 2008) – More than 220 swimmers from across Arizona will attempt to break the current Guinness World Record™ one-hour relay swim on Sunday, August 10 starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Paradise Valley Pool, 17648 North 40th Street in Phoenix. The record is currently held by a team of English swimmers with 204 participants.

The purpose of this history-making Kids Saving Kids Relay event is to raise awareness, visibility and importance of water safety and drowning prevention. Phoenix Councilman Claude Mattox, advocate of water safety and drowning prevention, will kick off the relay race by being the first swimmer. FAST, the Foundation for Aquatic Safety and Training, is organizing the event and founder Joe Zemaitis is the acting swim coach for the team attempting to break the Guinness World Record. The public is welcome to come out to the one-hour relay event and cheer on the swimmers.

“August is Drowning Impact Awareness Month and many people don’t know that drowning is the leading cause of death for infants and young children in Arizona, which is 100% preventable,” said Joe Zemaitis, founder and president of FAST. “In Maricopa County alone, nine children have drowned this year; two of those fatalities occurred in the few past weeks.”

FAST was formed after one of Coach Zemaitis’ Phoenix swim students, Braxton Bilbrey, made his famous 1.4-mile swim from Alcatraz Island to the San Francisco shoreline in May 2006. He was seven years old at the time of the record-breaking swim. Since then, FAST has assembled a team of young swimmers as ambassadors who visit schools in the community to promote water safety.

Dubbed as the FAST Talkers, these young leaders offer a child-friendly, understandable and memorable presentation on water safety to pre-K through 2nd grade students. Another community outreach program FAST promotes is their Water Safety for Refugees program, where FAST’s team of young swimmers gives hands-on guidance to local refugee children the basics in water survival skills. This program is in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

Supporting FAST’s “Kids Saving Kids” Relay are Denise Pitts, president and co-founder of The HALO Foundation, Tiffaney Isaacson, water safety coordinator for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Rich Bauer, director of community programs for the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association’s Adopt-a-Pool-Fence Program, and other drowning prevention organizations.

ABOUT FAST — Foundation for Aquatic Safety and Training, a non-profit, 501(c) (3), enables competitive swimmers to teach swimming to small groups of high-risk children and organize, promote and executive water safety events in schools and pools in every community.

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