It’s very disturbing to discover the number of first graders and other children in Guilford County who don’t know how to swim – and it’s unquestionable that that large number sometimes leads to the loss of a young life.

However, one program – the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s Learn-to-Swim program – is addressing that issue by making sure that every kid who goes through Guilford County’s elementary school system learns the incredibly valuable and potentially life-saving skill.

Swimming lessons for kids can be expensive, but the goal of the Learn-to-Swim program is to teach every second-grader enrolled in Guilford County Schools to swim – without putting a financial burden on the family.

Children in the program learn to swim in a 25-yard pool where they’re taught various skills meant to maximize their aquatic development. The program also helps the students engage in an active lifestyle and exposes them to additional swimming opportunities.

As of January of this year, the Learn-to-Swim program had 13,825 graduates – and an estimated 2,800 more were expected by the last day of the school year that just ended for summer break.

The Matt Brown Learn-To-Swim Endowment provides financial support to fund the program, which is mostly privately funded.

The Carroll Companies (the former owner of the Rhino Times) served as the presenting sponsor of the Fred Barakat Sports Dinner this year.  That dinner helps raise the money that keeps the program going.

Earlier this year, on Tuesday, April 30, at the Greensboro Coliseum arena. the speaker at the dinner was Seth Greenberg, a former college basketball coach of 35 years and a current ESPN college analyst. Many ACC fans remember him as the former coach of Virginia Tech.

That sponsorship of the event followed the Carroll Company’s 2022 sponsorship where Clemson University Football Coach Dabo Swinney was the speaker.

The sports dinner was renamed in 2011 in memory of the late Fred Barakat ––  the former associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

A spokesperson for The Carroll Companies stated that the company is “proud to be a pillar in such an amazing program that will prove to be a crucial skill in the lives of every student attendee.”

One very alarming statistic, according to the company, is that 61 percent of all young children don’t know how to swim ­– and that’s one stat the company couldn’t let go unnoticed by the community.

Which is why the company vigilantly supports the program.

Roy Carroll, CEO and Founder of Carroll Companies, spoke about the immense importance of the Learn-to-Swim effort.

“It’s about equipping our youth with a vital skill that could save lives,” he said. “This should be an opportunity within reach for every child, no matter the circumstances.”

Those who want to learn more about the Learn-to-Swim program in Guilford County can visit