PHTA, FSPA & ISHOF team up against drowning in Florida
This October, swimming and pool industry leaders from the Pool & Hot Tub Foundation (PHTF), the Florida Swimming Pool Association (FSPA), and the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced a joint partnership to help combat drowning in the state of Florida, which ranks fourth in the nation for unintentional drownings. The one-year agreement between the three organizations marks a pivotal collaboration to further promote swimming education and share available resources providing free or reducedcost swimming lessons in Florida communities.
As part of the collaboration, the organizations will work together to advance water safety and support each organization’s respective swim education initiatives—Step Into SwimTM (PHTF), Florida Swims Foundation (FSPA), and Every Child A SwimmerTM (ISHOF), which all strive to empower people around the water and decrease drowning, particularly with young children who are at an increased risk.
Olympian and three-time gold medalist Rowdy Gaines is leading the Step Into SwimTM initiative on behalf of PHTF as their Vice President of Partnerships and Development.
According to Gaines, drowning is largely preventable,and it troubles him to see drowning rates increase in the U.S. and for his home state of Florida to be so high on that list.
“This trifecta of support from leading organizations will give Floridian families and communities access to critical water safety skills,” Gaines said. “By teaching our youth the lifesaving gift of learning to swim, we can make a real, lasting impact and instill confidence in people as they take to the water.”
Bill Kent, Chairman of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, says that the partnership couldn’t come at a better time. The International Swimming Hall of Fame is building upon the momentum from Florida’s Every Child A Swimmer bill, which requires schools to inform parents on the importance of teaching their children how to swim.
“The more we all advocate for safe water practices, the bigger impact we’ll continue to have,” Kent said.
The joint partnership kicked off in October with a formal signing ceremony on Friday, October 8. As part of the agreement, the Florida Swimming Pool Association will become a founding member of the partnership established by PHTA’s Step Into SwimTM and ISHOF’s Every Child A SwimmerTM programs in the summer of 2021.
Maurice Bushroe, 2021 FSPA President, said FSPA is proud to partner with the Pool & Hot Tub Foundation and the International Swimming Hall of Fame to provide learn-to-swim programming to hundreds of thousands of children across the country.
“The members of our 16 chapters across Florida will be providing support for critical water safety awareness that will continue to make a difference in the lives of children and their families,” Bushroe said.