The YMCA’s New CEO Takes The Plunge [Video]

Published: May 21, 2019, at 1:40 p.m. PT

Last updated: May 23, 2019, at 4:15 p.m. PT

The Y is committed to helping every kid in King County learn to be safe around water.

GREATER SEATTLE, WA – The YMCA of Greater Seattle is celebrating May’s National Water Safety Month with a renewed focus on water safety education. The organization’s new President and CEO Loria Yeadon led by example and took swim lessons for the very first time with hopes of inspiring others to take the plunge. 

As many people of color experience, Yeadon grew up without access to swimming pools. As a results she and her siblings never learned how to swim as children. As soon as Yeadon joined the Y, she jumped straight into swim lessons to conquer her fears and show everyone that it's never too late to learn and be safe while having fun in the water.  

Every day, there are nearly 10 accidental drownings in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Black and African-American children are three times more likely to drown than their white peers. A USA Swimming Foundation study shows that if a parent does not know how to swim, there is only a 13 percent chance that their child will learn how to swim. Drowning is preventable. Formal swim lessons have proven to reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent, so it's important that adults break generational and access barriers, and come to the pool with our kids to learn. 

“It’s incumbent on us to be an example for our kids and bring equity and access to swimming for everyone. Lives depend on it,” stressed Yeadon. 

Each year in King County, the Y teaches more than 13,000 people of all ages and backgrounds how to swim. This spring and summer, Ys across the Greater Seattle region will be offering expanded swim lessons and free safety around water courses at many of our locations. You can contact your local Y for details by visiting seattleymca.org/locations. Sign up for swim lessons and teams at seattleymca.org/programs/swimming