Alexandria, Va. (March 9, 2023) – Step Into Swim, an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) dedicated to creating more swimmers through safe swim education, today announced it awarded $20,000 through its 2023 grant program to the Michael Phelps Foundation. In its efforts to build confidence in young swimmers and decrease the nation’s already-high drowning rate, Step Into Swim continues to advocate for increased access to water safety education and encourages lesson providers to apply for funding.
"Learning to swim empowers children to be water safety champions and helps prevent drowning," said Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Vice President of Partnerships and Development for PHTA, who leads the Step Into Swim initiative. “Step Into Swim takes swim safety seriously and we applaud the Michael Phelps Foundation among all the learn-to-swim lesson providers for doing the same. They put children first and teach them the skills they need to not only survive, but thrive in the water.”
With Step Into Swim latest grant, the Michael Phelps Foundation will offer swim safety lessons to more than 400 children in underserved communities and instill the lifesaving skill of learning to swim. In fact. learning to swim from a qualified instructor reduces the drowning rate by 88% among children ages 1 through 4, the very same age group impacted most by drowning deaths.
“I was first introduced to the water through a water-safety program, and I am committed to helping expand access to that same learn-to-swim program through our IM program,” said Michael Phelps, Founder of the Michael Phelps Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Rowdy Gaines and the PHTA’s Step Into Swim initiative to help teach more children to feel comfortable and confident in and around the water. Together, we can help inspire and educate the next generation about the valuable life skill of learning to swim.”
In addition to the life-saving skill of learning to swim, the Michael Phelps Foundation’s IM program provides a comprehensive curriculum that includes goal setting and healthy living (emotional and physical) lessons for children.
In 2022, Step Into Swim raised over $750,000 dollars, which provided grants to more than 60 facilities in 46 states and funded swim lessons for 23,500 children. The initiative has gifted more than 300,000 swim lessons since 2012 through YMCAs, Jewish Community Centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, and many more. Step Into Swim accepts grant applications on a rolling basis. Interested learn-to-swim providers can learn more and apply at www.stepintoswim.org/get-involved/apply/.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drowning Data. https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/data/index.html
 Association Between Swimming Lessons and Drowning in Childhood, A Case-Control Study: Ruth Brenner, et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4151293/
About The Michael Phelps Foundation:
The Michael Phelps Foundation (MPF) is focused on promoting water safety, healthy living, and the pursuit of dreams, especially for children. Founded in 2008, MPF has provided learn-to-swim, healthy living, and goal-setting programming to more than 250,000 people around the world through strategic partnerships with the Boys & Girls Club of America, Special Olympics International, and the Level Field Fund. For more information, please visit: http://www.michaelphelpsfoundation.org.
About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and Step Into Swim:
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 www.phta.org.
Step Into SwimTM is an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and its foundation committed to safe swim education and drowning prevention. By investing in the next generation of swimmers through learn-to-swim programming, the Step Into Swim initiative instills confidence, empowers long-term participation in water activities, touts the positive benefits of water play, and advocates for safe practices. Since its inception in 2012, Step Into Swim has played a role in reducing drowning fatalities and has gifted swim lessons to more than 300,000 children with support from community organizations, partners, industry advocates, members and more. For more information, visit www.stepintoswim.org.