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PHTA Board of Directors Dedicates $500,000 to Fund Swimming Lessons

  • May 11, 2021

May 11, 2021

Media Contact:
Janay Rickwalder, CAE
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
703-357-3918 |

PHTA Board of Directors Dedicates $500,000 to Fund Swimming Lessons

(Alexandria, Va.) - The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) Board of Directors recently committed to donating $500,000 to Step Into Swim, PHTA's drowning prevention initiative. One hundred percent of these funds will go straight to learn-to-swim programs who have applied for Step Into Swim grants in recent years. By distributing the money in this way, the Board of Directors is immediately making an impact on saving lives through the gift of swim lessons.

The Board of Directors unanimously agreed to make this donation. This decision is part of PHTA's broader commitment to philanthropy and drowning prevention. Drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4, and PHTA and Step Into Swim are working to change this statistic. The funds for this donation will come from PHTA reserves and will be distributed in early summer to ensure more children have access to swim lessons this year.

Olympian Rowdy Gaines, PHTA Vice President of Partnerships & Development, is now spearheading Step Into Swim. "I am completely overwhelmed by the generosity of our PHTA board and this substantial gift. This action will help save thousands of lives by providing funds directly to many qualified swim lesson providers throughout the country,” Gaines says. “I cannot begin to thank each and every board member enough for their insight into this issue. I know we will make a difference in a lot of young lives and the communities in which they live."

Due in part to the pandemic, drowning figures are already higher this year, according to Gaines. The Board of Directors particularly wants to reach children and learn-to-swim programs in underserved areas and give children who normally would not be able to afford it the opportunity to participate in swim lessons. More than 700 aquatics facilities have requested Step Into Swim grants to help fund their learn-to-swim programs.

“I am so grateful to have a strong PHTA board, which is fully committed to our mission and strategic in their thinking,” says Franceen Gonzales, Chairman of the PHTA Board of Directors. “Our Step Into Swim program is an essential part of our mission and I am proud of our board’s decisive action to seed the work of our Champions Board and to get more people to learn how to swim now that pools are reopening.”

Step Into Swim has already helped 273,000 people learn to swim. To learn more about this initiative, visit

For more information, please contact Janay Rickwalder, PHTA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, at or 703.357.3918.


About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance 

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with nearly 3,500 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $36.5B pool, hot tub and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge and profitability. Additionally, PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit

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