By Sharon Robb

June 12, 2014

South Florida Aquatic Club’s three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson will join Olympic gold medalists Janet Evans and Jason Lezak at USA Swimming’s Make A Splash water safety event Saturday at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Atkinson, Evans and Lezak will give free lessons to children and talk about the importance of learning to swim during the scheduled 50-minute session that begins at 11 a.m.

The event is one of the highlights of the International Swimming Hall of Fame induction weekend.

“Knowing how to swim can be the difference between life and death,” USA Swimming Foundation executive director Debbie Hesse said. “Formal instruction can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent.

“Through our more than two million lessons and counting, USA Swimming Foundation continually provides essential skills to underserved populations.”

Said Lezak: “I am proud to be involved with the Make A Splash initiative to help spread awareness of this issue all over the country and make a difference for future generations. As a father, I realized how big this epidemic is and wanted to do everything I could to help my kids become safer around the water.”

So far in 2014, Broward County has had seven children drown under the age of five including four in apartment complex pools.

The Olympians will host a USA Swimming Foundation luncheon at the ISHOF complex immediately following the water safety session.

Evans and Lezak will also be hosting the induction ceremonies on Saturday night.

The 50th annual Honoree Induction weekend will be star-studded.

Those scheduled to be inducted are swimmers Grant Hackett of Australia; Agnes Kovacs of Hungary amd Tom Malchow of the U.S.; water polo players Carlo Silipo of Italy and Karin Kuipers of the Netherlands; open water swimmers Sandra Bucha and Jon Erikson, both of the U.S.; synchronized swimmers Penny and Vicky Vilagos of Canada; diver Peng Bo of China; coaches Charlotte Davis of the U.S. and Jozsef Nagy of Hungary; contributor Norman Sarsfield of Great Britain and honor pioneer contributor Bruce Hopping of the U.S.

St. Andrew’s aquatics director and coach Sid Cassidy will be among Paragon Award winners for his open water swimming services as FINA Technical chairman. He will be joined by Olympic diver and announcer Cynthia Potter of the U.S., Olga Pinciroli of Brazil for water polo, Miwako Homa of Japan for synchro swimming, American Wally James for recreational swimming and American Bob Burnside for aquatic safety.

The Paragon and annual awards will be presented on Friday night at 7 at the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s DuPont Auditorium. The honoree inductions are Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Resort.

For information and tickets call 954-462-6536

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

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