Olympic swimmers teach HISD students the importance of water safety

The biggest names in USA Swimming visited Northside High School Wednesday, May 3, for the annual Make a Splash Tour in partnership with Phillips 66 to promote water safety and education.

Students from Atherton Elementary School, Attucks Middle School, McReynolds Middle School, Marshall Middle School, Chavez High School, and Northside High School participated in the fun-filled community swimming activity led by eight-time Olympic medalist Nathan Adrian, two-time Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel, three-time Olympic medalist Rowdy Gaines, four-time Olympic medalist Cullen Jones, and several USA Swimming Foundation representatives.

“Drowning is a real epidemic in our country, especially here in Texas,” said Gaines. There have been 15 child drownings in Texas in 2023 so far, and 76 in 2022, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

“The Make a Splash Tour is sort of a nationwide stop to really educate the different communities of the importance of water safety for kids,” Gaines added.

Each student received a free swim cap to wear before engaging in 30 minutes of hands-on swimming lessons and activities.

Community members, family, and HISD staff gathered inside Northside High School’s natatorium to watch as the Olympians demonstrated various swimming techniques and educated students on the importance of knowing how to swim.

Afterwards, students were allowed to safely attempt some of the maneuvers performed by the athletes while under their supervision.

“I feel really good and excited,” said Atherton Elementary School third-grader Kennedy Vanderbull. “My favorite part was going under the water and swimming with my friends.”

For 15 years, The USA Swimming Foundation, USA Swimming, and Phillips 66 have teamed up with Olympic medalists and USA Swimming Foundation ambassadors to present the Make a Splash Tour, an effort aimed to strengthen swimming skills and provide exceptional swimming experiences for children, parents, and community members across the country. According to USASwimming.org, the foundation’s goal is to provide every child in America an equal opportunity to learn how to swim regardless of their financial capacity.

“We’re super excited about and the partnerships we have with USA Swimming and Phillips 66 and the way they assist in making sure that HISD kids have an opportunity to learn to swim,” said HISD Athletics Director Andre’ Walker.

Before departing, students received a deck of cards with each of the Olympians’ autographs and a resource card to help them make wise decisions around water in the future.

To learn more about USA Swimming and the Make a Splash Tour, click here.