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What an Olympic Swimmer Wants Parents to Know About Swimming Safely

Alexandria, Va. (April 13, 2023) – With warmer weather ahead, it's only natural for families to begin planning water activities and scoping out swim access for the summer. Step Into Swim, the water safety education initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, offers swim safety tips from its own Rowdy Gaines, Olympic swimmer, drowning prevention advocate, and the ‘Voice of Swimming’ himself.

“Swimming has always played an important role in my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to help children find that same passion for the water through swimming education, which often starts with parents,” said Gaines, who leads the Step Into Swim initiative. “Parents have a responsibility to protect their kids and safely introduce them to water so that they are set up for success. In fact, swimming can be both safe and fun with the right attitude and environment.”

Throughout his competitive career, Gaines made his place in swimming history breaking multiple world records and winning three gold medals. As one of the most decorated and dedicated athletes in the sport of swimming, Gaines has also been inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. One of his proudest roles, however, is serving as a swim safety champion and change maker to create more swimmers.

Often referred to as ‘Swimming’s Greatest Ambassador,’ Gaines shares his best advice for parents and caregivers to keep kids safe in and around the water.

  • Enroll your children in swim lessons. Formal swim lessons from a qualified instructor reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among those ages 1 to 4.1
  • Do not let your child out of your sight. Unfortunately, drowning can happen in the time it takes to send a text message.2 Supervision around the water is critical. 
  • Be encouraging and talk positively about swimming. Learning to swim safely empowers children to be confident and comfortable in the water, and your added encouragement can go a long way.
  • Practice multiple layers of protection. Keeping a watchful eye on children is one way to help prevent accidents, though there are other layers of protection to consider – such as using life jackets and safety alarms.

For more swim safety information, visit


About Step Into Swim 

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   


1 Brenner, R. A., et al. (2009). Association Between Swimming Lessons and Drowning in Childhood: A Case-Control Study. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drowning Prevention.


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