Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Adrian Wants Swimming Taught in Schools: 'It's So Important'

·2 min read
Nathan Adrian
Nathan Adrian

Team USA

Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian is excited to get back on the road with the annual Make a Splash Tour to provide formalized swim lessons to communities throughout the country.

Adrian, 33, spoke to PEOPLE about the importance of swim lessons for adults and children, and his hope is that one day, swimming will be a regular part of physical education programs in schools.

"The tour is our effort to spread the word that formalized swim lessons are important," Adrian, tells PEOPLE. "It's important for people to learn how to swim."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,500 people die from drowning every year and a quarter of those victims are under the age 14. The drowning rate in ethnically-diverse communities is almost three times the national average.

And, according to the Red Cross, 54% percent of all Americans say they cannot swim or don't feel prepared with basic swimming skills.

That's why Adrian, Phillips 66, and the USA Swimming Foundation are so passionate about the Make a Splash Tour.

RELATED: Nathan Adrian is 'Thankful' to Have Swimming During the Pandemic: 'I Am Fortunate'

"The big thing for us is they found that formalized swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%. That's the take-home statistic from all of this," he explains.

In addition to the Make a Splash Tour events, USA Swimming has approximately 3,000 pools around the country that offer affordable lessons.

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Nathan Adrian Make a Splash Today Show
Nathan Adrian Make a Splash Today Show

Mike Lewis

"Make a Splash helps distribute money to local providers in order to provide free or subsidized lessons for those who can't afford it," Adrian tells PEOPLE. "There are some other countries that learning to swim is part of the curriculum … And if we could get that going, that would be a wonderful thing here in the U.S. But, we're not quite there yet."

The Olympic gold medalist adds, "The hope and the dream is that one day, it's just something that everyone does."

Adrian stresses the importance for adults, no matter what, to always be watchful of children near pools because "in a high percentage of drowning occurrences, one or more of the usual safety measures was there."

RELATED: Nathan Adrian Says His Wife Hallie Being Pregnant During the Pandemic Was 'Absolutely Terrifying'

The Make a Splash Tour will visit its final stop in Rodeo, California, on Monday.

For more information about the Make a Splash Tour, visit www.usaswimming.org/makeasplash.

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