By Associated Press - Friday, June 15, 2018

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles is launching an initiative to give every child between the ages of 4 and 17 an opportunity to learn to swim.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the SwimLA program Friday, saying it will give children a skill that will keep them fit and safe.

The mayor’s office cites statistics from the U.S.A. Swimming Foundation that 64 percent of African-American and 45 percent of Latino children don’t know how to swim, and that drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14.

Last year, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks provided 18,000 swim classes. SwimLA will double that to 36,000 classes, and the availability of swim scholarships and the daily hours of nearly 50 city pools will be expanded.

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