Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross

June 01, 2006 14:00 ET

Canadian National Swim Team Helps Red Cross Kick Off Water Safety Week with a Splash!

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - June 1, 2006) - The past, present and future of swimming in Canada helped Canadian Red Cross Secretary General Dr. Pierre Duplessis to launch Water Safety Week with a splash at a Vancouver's UBC Aquatic Centre today.

Past and present Canadian swimming champions Rob Dyke and Brent Haydon, Swimming Canada Head Coach Pierre Lafontaine, Red Cross National Director of Injury Prevention, Yvan Chalifour, and others were on hand for the event which also launched the Bell Grand Prix series of international swim meets, and introduced a new Red Cross/Swimming Canada partnership agreement.

"Most competitive swimmers get their start with swimming lessons as a child," said Dr. Duplessis. "So it is fitting that we are able to announce our new partnership with Swimming Canada at such a prestigious event as the Bell Grand Prix - 43rd Mel Zajac JR International Swim Meet."

"The Canadian Red Cross has been teaching Canadians to swim, and to be safe in, on and around the water for 60 years," Dr. Duplessis continued. "Swimming Canada is dedicated to helping Canadian swimmers excel in their chosen sport. By working together we will be able to reach even more Canadians with important messages of safety, fitness and a life-long love of water."

"Programs such as Red Cross Swim are a great way to introduce kids to the joys of swimming," agreed champion swimmer Brent Hayden. "They also help to teach kids how to enjoy all their water activities safely - lessons that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

"At Swimming Canada, we are delighted to be working with the Red Cross on key initiatives to promote the benefits of swimming for all ages," says Pierre Lafontaine, Chief Executive Officer of Swimming/Natation Canada. "As an organization, Swimming Canada knows the importance of learning to swim for safety and recreation, as well as the importance of learning correct strokes for developing strong swimmers for life. We fully endorse Red Cross Swim as the program that gives most Canadians their start at a lifetime of enjoying the water safely."

Rob Dyke, a former Canadian swimming champion famous for his 2005 Aquathon swim around Vancouver Island, was also on hand for the event in his new role as Red Cross Water Safety Ambassador. "Swimming opens up the door to fun and fitness for everyone," said Dyke. "But learning to swim is just the beginning. Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety programs teach participants how to enjoy the water safely, helping to ensure a lifetime of fun."

Swimming Canada serves as the national governing body of competitive swimming in Canada, representing over 50,000 competitive swimmers registered in more than 350 clubs across the country. In addition, another 75,000 people participate each year in other competitive Swimming Canada activities and programs.

More than one million Canadians enroll in Red Cross swimming and water safety programs each year.

Under the new partnership Swimming Canada spokespersons will promote safety messages and the value of Red Cross Swim programs. And, Red Cross Swim Instructors will have an opportunity to become part of the future of competitive swimming in Canada by identifying pupils who show potential as future competitive swimmers.

For more information on Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety programs, Water Safety Week, The Red Cross Water Safety 60th Anniversary, and tips on how to stay safe while having fun in, on and around the water, please visit the Red Cross web site at For more information on Swimming Canada, competitive swimming in Canada, or the Bell Grand Prix series of international swim meets, please visit the Swimming Canada web site at:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Red Cross
    Alice Bradbury d'Anjou
    A/Manager, Media Relations
    (613) 740-1928
    (613) 222-6196 (FAX)
    Canadian Red Cross - Lower Mainland, B.C.
    Kathleen Killen
    Public Affairs Advisor
    (604) 709-6616
    (604) 839-8941 (FAX)
    Swimming/Natation Canada
    Martin Richard
    Communications Manager
    (613) 260-1348 ext. 2002
    (613) 725-4339 (FAX)