Las Vegas, Nevada - The American Red Cross today announced its 2014 Swimming and Water Safety Program that features three new adult Learn-to-Swim course outlines, a new free Swim app and a Water Safety Instructor course that incorporates advanced simulation learning.

“The Red Cross is widely recognized as the gold standard in lifesaving, water safety and swimming instruction,” said Catherine Barry, national director, aquatics at the American Red Cross. “We constantly challenge ourselves to improve our course offerings with the latest science and by incorporating feedback from our partners and facilities.”

Highlights of the 2014 aquatics package include:

Adult Swim Courses: For the first time in its 100-year aquatics history, the Red Cross is introducing three outlines for adult swim courses. The new adult courses mean that facilities no longer will need to customize youth levels for adult learners. Classes are available to teach fundamentals, stroke development and refinement, and diving and water safety.

The progressive, multi-level instructional approach includes the most current biomechanics for swim strokes and starts, stroke descriptions, diving progressions, and tools to prevent drowning and promote water safety.

Free Swim App: The Red Cross has launched a free mobile app to help parents and caregivers of young people learning to swim. The app is designed as a companion to the Red Cross Learn-to-Swim lessons and preschool aquatics programs, and provides water safety information to adults and children. It is ideal for adults or children who want easy and accessible information on water safety and drowning prevention.

Features of the Red Cross Swim app include:

  • User performance charts with individual stroke videos per each level
  • A tab dedicated to children with videos, quizzes and safety content, all based on the popular WHALE Tales water safety program that entertains and educates young swimmers
  • Activities for parents, caregivers and children to do together
  • Swim profiles that parents and caregivers can create to track the progress of each child taking a Learn-to-Swim class
  • Progress badges that can be shared socially with friends and family
  • A section specifically for adults that covers prevention and emergencies for home pools, beaches, lakes and rivers, with quizzes to test the user’s water safety knowledge

Facilities professionals, parents, caregivers and children can download the app from the iTunes or Google Play Stores or by going to the Mobile App section of the Red Cross website.

Water Safety Instructor (WSI) Training: The comprehensive Red Cross WSI program trains instructors in water safety and drowning prevention and provides information needed to plan and conduct courses in the Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety program.

The training program teaches instructors how to conduct a series of courses, such as Parent and Child Aquatics; Preschool Aquatics; Learn-To-Swim; Adult Swim; Longfellow's WHALE Tales; Safety for Swim Coaches; six water safety presentations and two water safety courses.

The new 2014 WSI course topics emphasize on water competency and the Red Cross drowning circle-of-prevention and chain-of-survival. WSI training also will cover the three new for adult swim courses.

As part of its mission to promote better learning outcomes, the Red Cross has incorporated advanced simulation learning and critical thinking into its WSI training. This immersive learning experience allows for the practice of skills in an authentic, no-risk virtual environment. For example, WSIs will be offered more than 100 customizable scenarios, and the skill set taught in each level must be mastered before learners can advance through the course.

The course includes 23.5 hours of in-classroom training including a pre-course swimming skills test and 7 hours of online education. The training is designed to simplify preparation time and make it easy for instructors to teach any swim level successfully.

Science-Based Content Updates: Red Cross Learn-to-Swim lessons have been updated to reflect the latest science on topics such as water competency, water temperatures, and biomechanics for swim strokes and starts. These updates were implemented after review by the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council (Council), a 50-member, voluntary committee of healthcare and educational professionals that guides the scientific research for Red Cross programs, products and public preparedness guidance.

The full 2014 Red Cross aquatics package is outlined below. Courses are offered for aquatics professionals, those learning to swim, and aquatic facilities ranging from traditional pools and multi-use facilities (about 300,000 commercial pools in the U.S.) to waterparks, community centers, camps, country clubs and schools/universities.

SWIMMERS

  • Learn to Swim Course, a six-level learn-to-swim program suitable for children ages 6 and above
  • Preschool Aquatics, for children ages 4-5
  • Parent and Child Aquatics, for parents, caregivers, infants, toddlers
  • Junior Lifeguarding for youth 11 to 14
  • Adult Swim courses – three courses suitable for older teens and adults

AQUATICS PROFESSIONALS

  • Water Safety Instructor training
  • Lifeguard Management
  • Lifeguarding instructor training
  • Safety Training for Swim Coaches & Instructors
  • Lifeguarding training and certification (core course and shallow water)
  • Instructor trainer training

AQUATICS FACILITIES

  • American Red Cross Aquatic Examiner Service

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.