July 7, 2004
Sometimes it takes a fourtime Olympic gold medalist swimmer to teach kids pool safety.
Jennifer Anderson of Mesa watched as her children got the message being taught by Janet Evans on Tuesday at Mesa’s Kino Pool.
"To hear her talk about pool safety sounds a lot more interesting than to hear it from mom," Anderson said.
Nine-year-old Matt, 6-year-old Mansi, and 4-yearold Brianna are on the Kino Crawdads swim team and swim at least five days a week. Mansi said she knows kids shouldn’t run around the pool and should always go swimming with a parent.
Evans reminded all the young swimmers the pool area should be kept clean and the stressed the importance of learning CPR.
"You can be a very strong swimmer but you can still get in trouble in the water," said Evans, a spokeswoman for the V8 Splash juice beverage and USA Swimming’s national water safety education campaign, called April Pools Day.
"Drowning is the No. 1 cause of accidental death in children under 5," Evans said.
The program stresses parental supervision around water and families being prepared in case of an emergency. The campaign also stresses the importance of learning how to swim and fencing in pools.
Evans also answered questions about her Olympic swimming background, splashed around in the pool with kids and signed autographs on shirts and swim caps.
The picture of the day was when Evans and the children held hands and jumped into the water together.
Evans was a member of the 1988, 1992 and 1996 U.S. Olympic swim teams. She is the only female swimmer to hold three world records simultaneously and has won 45 U.S. national titles.