The Mayor set a goal to double enrollment from 18,000 — to help more young Angelenos stay active, healthy, and safe in the water.
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that SwimLA, an initiative to double the number of young people who receive swimming lessons at City pools, has already surpassed his goal of enrolling more than 36,000 Angelenos in classes this year.
Joined by Councilmember Monica Rodriguez and former Olympian John Naber, the Mayor said SwimLA is a key engine in his drive to expand young people’s access to low-cost sports and recreation programs.
“The 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games may be a decade away, but our journey to make L.A. the healthiest city in America has already begun,” said Mayor Garcetti. “SwimLA is making incredible progress toward our ultimate goal: equal access to sports and recreation for all young Angelenos — no matter their zip code or family income — so that kids in every community can have an opportunity to be fit, stay active, and know the joy of competition and achievement.”
Mayor Garcetti launched SwimLA in June, to help ensure that young Angelenos between the ages of 4 and 17 have more opportunities to learn how to swim. With support from partners, the program was able to grant thousands of scholarships to families who demonstrated financial need. To accommodate the additional lessons, the Department of Recreation and Parks expanded hours at nearly 50 pools — adding more than 3,000 operating hours at pools across the City.
Of the 36,126 Angelenos who have participated in the program, 60% enrolled in the preschool and beginner level aquatics programs — indicating that for many, it was likely their first time learning to swim. SwimLA programming is available at every single L.A. City Pool, and drew nearly identical gender representation — with 49% of participants identifying as male and 48% as female.
According to the U.S.A. Swimming Foundation, 64 percent of African-American and 45 percent of Latino children don’t know how to swim. With drowning the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14, it is important that kids learn to swim and understand how to be safe around all bodies of water.
“Introducing thousands of youth to the sport translates into an immense sense of assurance that more children will employ water safety skills when jumping into the pool to simply cool off or play with friends,” said Mike Shull, General Manager, Recreation and Parks. “We have provided students with a life skill that they can build upon and share with others, making the program’s success never-ending.”
SwimLA was made possible by support from key sponsors — including LA28, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and the LA84 Foundation. The success of SwimLA strengthens Mayor Garcetti’s vision to make Los Angeles the healthiest city in America and supports the City’s efforts to inspire future Olympic athletes to compete at the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles.
“On behalf of LA 2028, I'd like to applaud Mayor Garcetti, the City of Los Angeles and the Department of Recreation and Parks for following through on their bold vision of working toward making L.A. one of the healthiest cities in the world,” said four-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming and LA 2028 Chief Athlete Officer Janet Evans. “As a three-time Olympian, I know that sport has the power to teach us valuable lessons and inspire each and every one of us to accomplish more than we ever thought possible. I look forward to seeing how Los Angeles continues to harness the power of sport to benefit our city in the years leading up to the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
For more information on swim classes and to find your nearest pool, visit www.swimla.org.