Orlando, FL. (June 16, 2023) – Step Into Swim, an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) dedicated to creating more swimmers through safe swim education, joined community leaders and elected officials to present a $200,000 grant to the Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center, a state-of-the-art recreation facility. The Step Into Swim grant will allow the Center’s Learn to Swim program to help underserved communities in Central Florida access swim lessons at the Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center Teaching Pool Powered by Step Into Swim.
Florida has one of the highest drowning rates in the country, making swim lessons a critical component in drowning prevention efforts. With swim education as a priority, the Meisenheimer Family Foundation gifted $100,000 to Step Into Swim, which was then matched by PHTA’s Board of Directors to provide a $200,000 grant to the Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center. The funds will be used to offer Preschool Level 1, Preschool Level 2, School Age Introductory and School Age Level 1 group swim lessons to more than 1,200 children in the Orlando area as part of the Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center’s Learn to Swim program between July 2023 and December 2024. Swim lessons will be held at the teaching pool, a 25-yard pool with eight lanes and a maximum depth of four feet. As part of the free educational program, students will learn the lifesaving skill of swimming and water safety best practices from qualified instructors, and their families are encouraged to partake in the experience by watching in the viewing rooms.
“Keeping children safe around the water is a priority for Step Into Swim and the Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center,” said Rowdy Gaines three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Vice President of Partnerships and Development at PHTA who leads the Step Into Swim initiative. “Through our collaborative partnership, we look forward to expanding access to swim lessons among families who need it and empowering children to be both safe and confident in the water.”
Philanthropist and hotelier Harris Rosen, who serves as President and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, joined Gaines, who leads the Step Into Swim initiative; Dr. John “Lucky” Meisenheimer of the Meisenheimer Family Foundation; District 6 County Commissioner Mike Scott; and Mike Miller, Executive Director of the Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center, during the grant presentation, offering remarks about the positive impact the funds will have on local residents.
“It’s so sad because drowning deaths are preventable,” said Rosen. “Living in Florida, we must teach our children how to swim and this grant will go a long way doing just that.”
In 2023 alone, Step Into Swim has raised more than $770,000, funding swim lessons for more than 15,000 children across the country. The initiative’s work with the Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center is a pivotal partnership to continue these important water safety education and access efforts.
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.
About Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center
The Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center (RAFC) is a world-class membership facility serving Orlando residents and visitors to an international community of aquatic athletes. One of the largest indoor competitive swimming facilities in the Southeast, the RAFC features three pools: 50-meter with a first-of-its-kind hydraulically retractable roof, 25-yard teaching pool and 25-meter diving pool, while boasting one of only seven indoor performance diving rooms in the nation. For fitness goals, the RAFC offers the Adam Michael Rosen Fitness Center, racquetball courts and annually teaches hundreds of community children lifesaving and swimming skills. A passion for swimming and decades-long support prompted Orlando philanthropist and hotelier Harris Rosen to accept the facility as a gift from the YMCA of Central Florida in October 2020 to preserve it from permanent closure. The Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center, Inc. has been recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. It is located at 8422 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. For more information, please call 407-996-3444, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.RosenAquatic.com