December 8, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

Tomorrow is the first-ever swim-a-thon in Driggs, Idaho.

Katie McNamara, the executive director of Teton Valley Aquatics says the Swim-A-Thon is to raise money and awareness for water safety education in the community.

“So as a state, Idaho has one of the highest drowning rates for kids ages one through five in the country, we are working really hard to break down the barriers to accessing water safety education and just the joys of swimming,” McNamara said.

There are several different interventions and protections to keep children from drowning McNarama says receiving formal swimming instructions can reduce the chance of drowning by 80 percent.

Teton Valley Aquatics has partnered with the Jackson County Recreation Facility and Teton school district to sponsor 140 kids to take five weeks of swim lessons free of charge.

“About 75 percent of these kids who have signed up have never swum before, or had the opportunity to go swim,” McNamara said.

At the swim-a-thon people will swim laps... As many laps as possible in 30 minutes... Around the Jackson Hole Recreation Facility Pool in Jackson Hole.

For those who don't want to swim laps, there will also be a game of sharks and minnows and a cannonball competition at 10 a.m. And that afternoon will be free swimming for families and children, to register for the events and to swim for free go to tetonvalleyaquatic.org.

Another goal of Teton Valley Aquatics is to build a geothermal powered aquatic center in Driggs.

McNarama says they are currently finishing engineering and design and a financial feasibility study.

They see this as a way to address the problem of having a low rate of people who know how to swim since the nearest swimming facility is close to an hour away.