Lana Whitehead

Daily Point of Light # 4514 May 26, 2011

Throughout her life, today’s Daily Point of Light has connected her passion and skills with her community’s needs. Not only did SWIMkids USA President and Owner, Lana Whitehead, start an organization in 1971 that has trained over 50,000 children in water safety she has continued a life of service outside of her profession.
SWIMkids USA is the result of Lana’s Master’s thesis which included four research projects tested at Arizona State University. SWIMkids USA instructors equip their students with an immediate method of survival in an emergency situation by teaching them to roll on their backs where they can breathe and rest for an indefinite amount of time. After a short rest period, they are then taught to roll back onto their stomachs and continue to swim to safety.
Since the 1980’s, Lana’s focus on teaching water safety has grown and includes emphasizing the developmental benefits of swimming. Research indicates a connection between a child’s learning and his or her level of physical activity and her program encourages an active, healthy, physical education for all.
Outside of swimming, Lana and her family started Blake Miracle Foundation after the loss of her 23-month-old grandson to leukemia in 2006. The Foundation hosts an annual swim- and float-a-thon to benefit drowning prevention programs and pediatric pain management such as music and pet therapy. The previous five events have collectively raised over $165,000 and truckloads of toys for Cardon Children’s Medical Center.
These donations are special because SWIMkids USA’s swimmers raise this money for others in need. A record number of over 200 swimmers swam in 2011, pushing themselves to raise funds for others by swimming. Lana’s nominator said of the events, “It was heartwarming and awesome to see children swimming for other youngsters who could not swim themselves. Because they wanted to help ill children, participants pushed themselves far beyond their own and their parents’ expectations to raise as much money as they could, swimming farther than they ever had before.”
Lana’s nominator also had this to say of Lana: “She touches everyone she meets: her students, her staff, other swim school owners, her community.”