Red Cross: More than half of Americans can't swim - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Red Cross: More than half of Americans can't swim

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial kick off of summer and that means many are hitting the pools, but according to the American Red Cross, drowning is one of the leading causes of death and injury across the United States

"When you first get in there, I don't really like it because it's so cold," said seven-year-old Alex Olmstead. "Then when I get in there it gets warmer."

Little Alex is so excited that swimming season is here.

He's among hundreds expected to hit the pools over the holiday weekend.

However the Red Cross shows he's also among millions of other Americans who can't swim.

In the study, they find more than half of all Americans (54 percent) can't swim or don't have the basic swimming skills.

"I actually taught myself practically," said Nicholas Olmstead, Alex's brother. "Watching people practice at this pool and other pools. It's pretty cool! It gives me a form of exercise, and since you're under water, it's different from breathing air."

Recently, the Red Cross announced their national campaign anti-drowning campaign to reduce drowning and urge families to make sure they can swim.

In Iowa, more than 40 people died from drowning in 2012 alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show on average, ten people die everyday in the U.S. From unintentional drowning, with one in five victims being children.

Many pool staff members say they have enough life guards to rescue swimmers, but it's still important for all people to know the basic skills while in the water.

"I love to swim and I always try to get the opportunity to go swimming," said Tatiana Schmidt. "I like that you get to have fun and get wet and it just cools you down on a hot day."

Tatiana calls herself a pro swimmer, she's been taking swim classes for about a year.

She says she's tried convincing her mom to buy a pool or even take her to the swimming pool, but that hasn't turned out so well.

"Sometimes I like to splash my mom because she doesn't like getting her head wet," said Tatiana.


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