It was an audacious idea: Get people around the world to hold swim lessons on the same day at the same time, to draw attention to the message “Swimming Lessons Save Lives.” Not only did it work, but it’s broken the Guinness World Record every year since 2010.

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson was the brainchild of Beth Root. The World Waterpark Association wanted an idea to drive media attention to support National Water Safety Month. Root came up with WLSL, and WWA championed it. Root managed all program elements, from logos and marketing materials to a social media program, how-to guides for participating facilities and more — all on a pro-bono basis.

A former competitive swimmer and lifeguard, Root began her career in waterparks. Now she’s principal at Buzzonic, the Kansas City, Mo.-based marketing strategy and integration agency she founded. Since 1986, she’s attended every WWA convention with her husband, WWA President Rick Root.

—  Photos courtesy World’s Largest Swimming Lesson 2014