Unfortunately, we are starting to see an increase in drowning numbers. Industry experts have feared that lack of access to swim lessons combined with increased access to pools and use of open water would be a deadly combination. As more and more people purchased pools of all types over the last year, in addition to an increased use of open water with pools not being opened there is inherently an increased risk of drowning. And as the weather heats up and restrictions are being lifted across the country, we are unfortunately starting to see that increase.
According to Total Aquatic Programming’s monthly drowning tracker we started to see the increase in February of 2021 with a total of 79 drownings, as compared to 35 in 2020 and 66 in 2019. That increase has continued with March 2021 seeing 96 drownings as compared to 78 in 2020 and 80 in 2019. The trend in April with 120 drownings as compared to 95 in 2020 and 142 in 2019 is a little better but we are still headed in the wrong direction. Historically May, June, July and August see a significant increase in the number of monthly drownings as more people enjoy summer water activities.
Swim schools across the country have been reopening and slowly increasing capacity while following local guidelines. The challenge now is to hire and train staff to meet the increasing demand as local restrictions are lifted and parents are ready to get kids back in the pool. Prior to the pandemic, swim schools were challenged to find staff to meet the demand for swim lessons. Now faced with having to rebuild a team after months of being closed has proved to be an obstacle to offering the swim lessons needed in communities across the country. Swim schools are competing with other local job opportunities while also working with a smaller pool of applicants currently looking for a job. Increased efforts by swim school owners to attract and retain the quality staff they need has been a focus these last few months. The United States Swim School Association (USSSA) recently released a Hiring Toolkit for USSSA members to provide guidance and best practices to support their efforts.
Swim schools are looking for people that love kids and have a passion for learning. They want individuals who want to help create family memories, build self-confidence and be a role model. It takes a lot of love, a splash of dedication and a lot of passion to unlock the potential within swimmers and help save lives. If you know someone who is looking to make a difference, please encourage them to consider applying at their local swim school. The USSSA Job Board has thousands of opportunities and swim schools provide the training needed to be successful.