TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA is offering free swimming lessons to kids in March after a recent report showed more children drowned in Hillsborough County last year than any other county in Florida. 

  • Free swim lessons at Tampa Y
  • Classes run March 18-21
  • Open to kids 3 - 12 years

In 2018, 11 children drowned in Hillsborough County, the highest in the state.  Six children drowned in Pasco County in 2018, two more than in 2017. 

The number of drowning deaths in the state in 2018 was up 7 percent from the prior year, reaching a total of 88.  

The Safety Around Water lessons are free thanks to a Florida Blue Foundation Grant. 

Classes take place March 18 - 21 to coincide with Hillsborough and Pasco County's spring break.  It is open to the entire community, beginners and non-swimmers, ages 3 - 12 years. 

During the 4-day course, certified instructors teach kids a sequenced set of skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around water. 

Participants must be present on the first day of class and bring their own swimsuit and towel. A YMCA membership is not required.

However, due to limited space, pre-registration is required at these participating Tampa Ys:

Bob Gilbertson Central City Family YMCA

Bob Sierra YMCA Youth & Family Center

Campo Family YMCA

East Pasco Family YMCA

New Tampa Family YMCA

North Brandon Family YMCA

Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA

Plant City Family YMCA

South Tampa Family YMCA

Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Road