The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced the start of the 7th annual free Learn-to-Swim program Monday, July 8.

The summer program will reach up to 3,000 children at 26 state parks, according to a media release by State Parks. Pre-registration is required for the programs. 

Gilbert Lake State Park will hold its Learn-to-Swim Program on July 22, 25 and 26 at noon to 12:45 p.m. and 5 to 5:45 p.m. To register, call the park at 607-432-2114.

Glimmerglass State Park's program will take place July 22, 23, 25 and 26 at 11:15 a.m. to noon and 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. To register, call the park at 607-547-8662.

Bowman Lake State Park's program will be July 25 to 27 at 11:15 a.m. to noon and 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. It will also hold programs Aug. 1 to 3 at 11:15 a.m. to noon and 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. To register, call the park at 607-334-2718.

The Learn-to-Swim season includes hundreds of individual classes taught for all ages and levels, varying from swim lessons to water safety presentations, according to the release. Each swim program takes 40 to 45 minutes and those who complete lessons receive a Red Cross Learn-to-Swim Achievement Booklet and a State Parks Learn-to-Swim shirt.

The Learn-to-Swim program is offered through a partnership among State Parks; the American Red Cross; the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance and the Master Pools Guild; and the Northeast Spa and Pool Association Foundation, according to the release.

"This program teaches children a valuable, life-long skill that helps keep them safe, promotes a healthy lifestyle and gives them a connection to the outdoors,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “Through the support of Governor Cuomo's Connect Kids initiative and our partners in the Learn-to-Swim program, we are taking steps that can save lives.”

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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