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Aquatics Centennial Campaign

  • GA Region - Aquatics Centennial Campaign

It All Begins With Learn-to-Swim

The American Red Cross created the first national water safety program and, today, it’s still the gold standard for aquatics training. Over the past century, we’ve helped millions of kids, teens and adults learn how to swim and become lifeguards and instructors. Our training has helped reduce accidental drownings by 90% nationwide.

Centennial Campaign

To honor our 100 years of water safety, the American Red Cross launched a multi-year Aquatics Centennial Campaign in 2014. It is our goal to teach 50,000 more people in 50 communities across 19 states how to swim and help them be safer in and around the water. This is in addition to the more than two million people who participate in the Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety program each year. The Campaign is also helping to train lifeguards and swim instructors in these communities, all in an effort to reduce drowning deaths where the drowning rates exceed the national average. Through the Centennial Campaign, we hope to inspire all Americans to become water competent.

Official Chicagoland Program Partners

The ZAC Foundation

The ZAC Foundation

was established in 2008 by Brian and Karen Cohn after the loss of their 6-year-old son Zachary Archer Cohn in a pool drain entrapment in their backyard swimming pool. Through education and advocacy, the Foundation has educated more than 10,000 children and their families on the importance of water safety and is dedicated to continue preparing more for a lifetime of water safety. Zachary’s memory is the inspiration for the Foundation’s mission and activities. To learn more about The ZAC Foundation, connect with us on Facebook and thezacfoundation.com.


Chicago Park District
Starting in 2015, the Centennial Campaign teamed up with the Chicago Park District to to provide scholarships to children and adults for swim lessons and water safety education in the following aquatic facilities: Austin Town Hall Pool, Carter Park Pool, Don Nash Natatorium, Foster Natatorium, La Follette Natatorium, The Park at NTA Natatorium and West Pullman Pool. Centennial Campaign funding is also helping reduce the cost of training for qualified older youth who want to gain the skills necessary to become future lifeguards and Water Safety Instructors. Hands-on water safety and pediatric CPR training is available to parents of children in swim lessons at participating facilities. Want to sign up? Register by clicking here.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago
Thanks to the financial support of The ZAC Foundation, the Centennial Campaign with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago began in January 2016. Certified Red Cross Water Safety Instructors are providing low cost swim lessons to children and adults throughout the year at these facilities with indoor pools: Pederson-McCormick, True Value and Valentine Clubs. are Scholarships are available for qualified youth candidates to gain skills to become future lifeguards Junior lifeguarding courses. Parents and caregivers of youth members are encouraged to participate in free water safety training and CPR training. Want to enroll? Boys & Girls Clubs members can participate in any of these classes. Not a member? Join today!

Learn more about the national Centennial Campaign and its partners by visiting redcross.org/centennialswim.

Can You Perform 5 Critical Water Safety Skills?

Eight out of 10 Americans will plan water activities such as going to the beach, pool, Water Park or boating and fishing this summer. A Red Cross survey shows that people believe they are better swimmers than they actually are. Can you perform all five of the basic skills that can help save your life in the water?

1. Step or jump into the water over your head.
2. Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute.
3. Turn around in a full circle and find an exit.
4. Swim 25 yards to the exit.
5. Exit from the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.

Do Your Part, Be Water Smart!

The Red Cross urges people across the country to take steps now to help them be safer in and around water:
  • Enroll children and adults in Red Cross swim lessons to ensure that everyone in your family is a competent swimmer. .
  • Learn about water safety. Go to redcross.org/watersafetytips to learn more.
  • Know what to do in a water emergency, including how to perform CPR.
Go to Redcross.org/takeaclass to enroll in this lifesaving training! Can’t find a class near you? Find a nearby Red Cross Licensed Training Provider.

Join us as we champion water safety for the next 100 years with programs based on the latest science and new ways to learn in the water and online.
Free Swim App

Download the Red Cross Swim App!

Learn to help keep your loved ones safe in & around water with drowning prevention & emergency response information. Includes educational games and videos for kids plus a swim lesson progress tracker.