LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Five time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Missy Franklin stopped by Louisville on Friday to teach kids about the importance of staying safe in the water.
May is National Water Safety Month, so that’s why Franklin seized the opportunity at SafeSplash and SwimLabs to remind everyone that swimming is an invaluable life saving skill.
Franklin signed some autographs and took pictures with the children, all struggling to lift up two of her gold medals. The young swimming hopefuls couldn’t help being starstruck.
With gold in their eyes and inspiration in their hearts, there’s no better time for a reminder as the months heat up.
“Drowning is truly an epidemic in this country and getting into swim lessons reduces rates of drowning by 88 percent,” Franklin said.
Franklin’s mother got her in the pool at just six-months-old and it’s a good thing she did!
Franklin said it’s never too early or too late to learn.
“It’s so heartbreaking when you see stories and you think there was a potential that could have been prevented if they had been in swim lessons and knew how to swim,” Franklin said.
No matter how good a swimmer, accidents can happen.
“Please do not be on your phone when your kid is in the water,” Franklin said. “Even if they know how to swim, even if they’ve been doing it for years, if your kids are in the water you need to be watching them and you need to not be distracted.”
Franklin suggests having a buddy system, even encouraging the kids to make sure they’re not alone.
“Swim with a buddy, always make sure you’re with someone, stay away from drains, jump in feet first, if you get tired, float on your back,” Franklin said.