Wow-what a week for nice people and swimming!
This week work found me in Chicago for a couple of days. When I texted my good friend Pat for lunch he said I know exactly where we will go. We went to Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria on State Street for deep dish pizza which is always good but….that isn’t what made it so awesome. USA Swimmings philanthropic arm Swimming Saves Life Foundation was having their Make a Splash luncheon. Make a Splash’s is a child focused water safety campaign that aim to provide all children the opportunity to learn how to swim. The stats centered around not knowing how to swim are staggering.
–Ten people drown each day in the United States.
–70% of African American, 60% of Hispanic and 42% of Caucasian children have little to no swimming ability.
–Children from non-swimming households are 8 times more likely to be a risk of drowning.
–Drowning is preventable.
To bring attention to this issue the event was hosted by Olympian Rowdy Gaines (my swimming hero. See blogpost 1/18/15) and three Olympians Cullen Jones, Jessica Hardy and Conor Dywer (my friend Pat’s son).
It was so fun to walk in and see Pat, Jeanne and some of their family. They are nicest family and seem to know everyone in Chicago. Pat introduced me to Rowdy and we visited for awhile. He is such a nice and personable guy. Totally engaged and fun to be around! We took the requisite picture of the three of us and sent it to our friend Olympian Janet Evans.
There was a short program with opening commentary by Rowdy along with a video and then a panel with the Olympians. They shared their thoughts on the importance of swimming in their lives and the importance of this cause followed by a Q&A by the audience. In Rowdy’s comments in addition to the importance of kids learning to swimming he talked about the personal relationships and friendships borne out of swimming. Nothing could have ringed more true to an audience of probably 40+ mostly master swimmers. They were all so nice (I would expect that though of a group that was made up of a lot of Dwyer friends). Rowdy said, “swimmers are just nice people” a couple of times in his comments. It is so true!