American Red Cross survey shows 56 percent of adults aren't strong swimmers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A survey from the American Red Cross showed more than half of American adults aren't as strong of swimmers as they should be.

The non-profit agency surveyed five skills to determine if a swimmer would be strong enough to save him or herself from drowning:

   -  Floating or treading water for one minute
   -  Stepping or jumping into water over your head and returning to the surface
   -  Treading water or floating in a full circle and then finding a way out of the water
   -  Exiting a pool without using a ladder
   -  Swimming 25 yards without stopping.

The Red Cross says 56 percent of adults were unable to complete all five tasks.

"Most people have not quite the swimming ability that they think they might have," said American Red Cross water safety expert Connie Harvey.

The Red Cross says swimming isn't something to brush off or take lightly.  From 1999 to 2010, 21,000 children and young adults drowned, and right now drowning remains the second most common cause of death for kids 1 to 4.

Tuesday, the Red Cross launched a campaign to reduce the drowning rate by 50,000 in 50 targeted cities over the next three to five years. They're increasing swimming lessons for children and adults and adding training opportunities for lifeguards.

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