SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Six teenagers drowned in Shreveport’s Red River back in 2010. That tragedy inspired Shreveport native and four-time WNBA player Alana Beard to return home and create a swim safety event for her community.
“That hit home for me, because within my household it’s never been an emphasis,” she said.
In 2016 she hosted her first swim safety event which has now turned into an annual thing. “The first year was awesome….it was pretty cool,” Beard said. "It was the beginning, so we were just learning as we go, but we had a really good group and a lot of young kids that came into it.”
She did not know how to swim when she hosted her event so that was an opportunity for her to learn. “I was in the pool at the age of 33 swimming with six and seven-year-olds (and) just learning from the very beginning.”
She’s back in Shreveport taking part in the event for its third year. Thirty children will spend Monday, November 19 through Wednesday, November 21 learning swim safety skills and techniques at the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana.
The event is free and participating kids will also receive gift cards, t-shirts and swim caps.
For Beard, she hopes these kids will gain the necessary tools when it comes to being in the water and continue pushing themselves to learn how to swim. “If you want to learn something, you jump in, you get it done and eventually you can progress to being really good at it, and that’s with anything in life,” she said.
Beard plans to host the event again next year.