Olympic swimming legend Janet Evans and LA84 Foundation President Anita L. DeFrantz, celebrated the 28th year of Summer Swim and announced $400,000 in LA84 grants to fund swim lessons and sports in public pools, June 7, at Alondra Community Regional Park in Lawndale, Calif. Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Director of LA County Department of Parks & Recreation Russ Guiney, USA Swimming Foundation Executive Director Debbie Hesse, and veteran lifeguard and swim coach Louis Pecot also were on hand for the announcement.
DeFrantz emphasized the importance of swimming lessons and water safety. “I don’t like to say this,” said DeFrantz, “but two-thirds of all youth drownings in our community involve African Americans and Latinos. Learning to swim saves lives.” Evans added, “Swimming is a life skill. It’s a skill that everyone needs. There is nothing I believe in more than teaching people how to swim.”
Thirty young swimmers from LA84-funded programs at Jessie Owens and Roosevelt Pools highlighted the celebration by demonstrating their skills in the new pool at Alondra Park. They were joined in the water by Evans’ daughter and son, ages 6 and 3.
Summer Swim officially begins June 15 at public pools in 15 munipalities. For more information see the LA84 website at www.la84.org.