Nikiski swimmers assist attempt to break world’s largest swim lesson record

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Sunday, July 10, 2016 8:58pm
  • News

The 29 participants in last month’s attempt to break the World’s Largest Swim Lesson record at the Nikiski Pool are now waiting to see if their efforts paid off.

For the third year in a row, an aquatic crowd convened at the facility, joining swimmers and instructors in 24 countries and in 45 U.S. states for the World Waterpark Association’s annual event, that serves a dual purpose.

“Breaking the record is only one part of the goal,” said Nigel LaRiccia, Nikiski Pool supervisor. “The other part is just to promote water safety and get the word out that swim lessons help save lives and parent supervision helps save lives. Those are the two biggest keys in drowning prevention.”

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children ages 1-14, according to the Waterpark Association.

During the event, LaRiccia and two other instructors went over the basics of safety and pool rules, and how anyone can respond in water-related emergencies, he said. Participants learned how to pull distressed swimmers out of the water “without actually going in to get them,” he said.

Breathing and submerging properly, opening eyes underwater, floating, and stroke techniques were also touched on, LaRiccia said. Infants and adults participated this year, he said.

“Mostly it is for the parents (who come) with real young ones,” LaRiccia said. “We are telling them what lessons are all about, and getting them excited about getting their kid in and continuing that process. For the ones who are a little older, it might be the only time they get formal lesson.”

The swim lesson has become one of the pool staff’s methods of outreach to promote community education about water safety, LaRiccia said.

Nikiski Pool Lifeguard Jeremy Ruggiero also taught during the record attempt, which he said, is a fun way to help swimmers learn in a new, exciting way to make good decisions when in the water.

He said there was a mix of people that showed up, some were there to have fun and some came “looking to get something out of it.”

Ruggiero worked with the younger group, who filled up the kiddie pool, he said.

For the most part things went smoothly, but when working with younger swimmers it is important to incorporate creative ways of communicating instruction to keep their attention and teach them in ways they understand, he said.

Ruggiero went over the importance of wearing lifejackets when boating and the dangers of frigid water.

“Always be aware how quickly it can just zap the energy out of you the most,” he said. “Before you get in a body of water, know how cold it can be.”

The global swim team broke the record last year, LaRiccia said. He said it would be a little time before the results come in for this years attempt.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Fatal collision near Anchor Point closes highway for hours

Troopers received a call about the collision shortly after noon

Members of the Soldotna Elks Lodge #2706, including Exalted Ruler Robert Dixon and Secretary Shannon Woodford (third and fifth from the left) stand with purchased toys and clothes for donation to local children at the lodge in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elks to donate toys and clothes to local kids

Yearlong fundraiser brings in more than $13,000

Portions of the Kenai bluff can be seen eroding below Old Town Kenai in this undated photo. (Photo by Aidan Curtin/courtesy Scott Curtin)
Portions of the Kenai bluff can be seen eroding below Old Town Kenai in this undated photo. (Photo by Aidan Curtin/courtesy Scott Curtin)
Infrastructure dollars flood peninsula

Federal infrastructure bill makes available more than $232M for peninsula projects

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna bumps vote on use of accessory housing as short-term rentals

An accessory dwelling unit is a subordinate, detached dwelling unit located on a lot or parcel with an existing residence

Foliage surrounds the Soldotna Police Department sign on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Foliage surrounds the Soldotna Police Department sign on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Law enforcement to host women’s self-defense class in January

Within 48 hours of the course being advertised, 120 women had signed up to participate

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Local hunter credits community members for Thanksgiving rescue

Glover said he didn’t even strike out from his home to go hunting

In this July 13, 2007, photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
EPA proposes restrictions to block Pebble Mine

Mine developer Pebble Limited Partnershi called the EPA’s decision a preemptive veto

Architect Nancy Casey speaks in front of a small gathering at this year’s final Fireside Chat presented by the Kenai Watershed Forum on Nov. 30, 2022, at Kenai River Brewing in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Building with the environment in mind

Kenai Watershed Forum’s Fireside Chats conclude

Johni Blankenship signs her name after being sworn in as Soldotna City Clerk at a city council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Blankenship sworn in as Soldotna city clerk

Blankenship comes to the City of Soldotna from the Kenai Peninsula Borough

Most Read