CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – The warm weather is here and that means more people are trying to cool off in pools, ponds and lakes. That has water safety experts on high alert.

The second annual “Drennen’s Dreams Splash Dash” and their campaign to save lives was held Sunday.

Drennen O'Melia (credit: CBS)

Drennen O’Melia (credit: CBS)

At this year’s Splash Dash two things were abundant — water and the color pink — both favorite things of a very special 12-year-old named Drennen O’Melia.

“(He) and some of his teammates from swim team were going for a relay record and they had ‘Men in Pink’ written on their back and they all wore pink,” said Bill O’Melia, Drennen’s father.

Drennen ended up winning that swim race and many others, but the accomplished swimmer drowned in a guarded Littleton public pool back in 2010. His parents still aren’t sure what went wrong.

“There were two lifeguards on duty that never saw him,” said Melissa O’Melia, Drennen’s Mother.

Now they hold a 5K in his honor, raising funds for Drennen’s Dreams, focused on drowning prevention.

“It occurres every day in pools with lifeguards and we want to stop that,” Melissa O’Melia said.

Tim Woodward with the Colorado Drowning Prevention Task Force says now is high time to keep water safety a top priority.

“We’ve had eight drownings in just the last two weeks,” Woodward said.

Woodward says in water education they focus on skills like knowing how to swim, CPR and what to do in an emergency.

“You can never be completely safe around water, but if we can help you be safer, then that’s our goal,” he said.

“It’s all preventable; all drowning is preventable,” Bill O’Melia said.

Drennen’s parents now share their story with lifeguards, parents and anyone around water in an effort that their beloved son’s tragic story is not repeated.

“People assume that drowning is loud and people are thrashing around and yelling for help, and they’re not, it’s very silent and very deadly,” Melissa O’Melia said.

LINK: Drennen’s Dreams


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