Friday, October 22, 2021

Pool & Hot Tub Foundation Announces New Water Education and Safety Partnership to Prevent Drowning Deaths in Florida

Florida ranks fourth in the nation for unintentional drowning deaths, including swimming and boating-related incidents.

On Friday, October 8, 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. The one-year agreement between the three organizations marks a pivotal collaboration to further promote swimming education and share available resources providing free or reduced cost 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 Swimmer (ISHOF), which all strive to empower people around the water and decrease drowning, particularly with small children who are at an increased risk.


Olympian and three-time gold medalist, Rowdy Gaines, is leading the Step Into Swim initiative on behalf of PHTF.

“Drowning is largely preventable and it pains me to see drowning rates increase in the U.S. and for my home state of Florida to be high on that list. This trifecta of support from leading organizations will give Floridian families and communities access to critical water safety skills,” said Gaines, Vice President of Partnerships and Development for PHTA. “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.”

“The partnership couldn’t come at a better time as 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,” said Bill Kent, Chairman of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. “The more we all advocate for safe water practices, the bigger impact we’ll continue to have.”

The joint partnership kicks 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 Swim and ISHOF’s Every Child A Swimmer programs in the summer of 2021.


Maurice Bushroe, Sabeena Hickman, Bill Kent

“We are proud to partner with reputable organizations like the Pool & Hot Tub Foundation and Inte


rnational Swimming Hall of Fame, who have provided learn-to-swim programming to hundreds of thousands of children across the country,” said FSPA President Maurice Bushroe. “We will all work tirelessly, launching efforts right here in Florida to provide important swim education that makes a difference in the lives of our residents and their families.”

About Pool & Hot Tub Foundation and Step Into Swim:
The Pool & Hot Tub Foundation (PHTF) is a 501(c)(3) that is governed by the Pool & Hot Tub Association. PHTF provides education to the pool & hot tub industry and is the fundraising and philanthropic arm for PHTA supported programs.

Step Into SwimTM is an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance 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 280,000 children with support from community organizations, partners, industry advocates, members and more. For more information, visit

About Florida Swimming Pool Association and Florida Swims Foundation:

Florida Swimming Pool Association, (FSPA) is a 501(c)6 that serves as the coordinating organization for 16 local Florida chapters. It provides educational programs and government and legislative representation for the swimming pool industry in Florida. FSPA is the primary sponsor of the Florida Swims Foundation (FSF), a 501c(3) that contributes to swimming pool safety programs and scholarships for FSPA members and families. For more information, visit

About International Swimming Hall of Fame and Every Child A Swimmer:

The International Swimming Hall of Fame is an organization organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRC with a primary mission to collaborate with aquatic organizations worldwide to preserve, educate and celebrate the history of aquatic sports while promoting swimming instruction for children through its Every Child A Swimmer program. For more information, visit

Every Child A Swimmer is a registered trademark of the ISHOF and represents the ISHOF founding fathers’ spiritual mission: to prevent childhood drownings and further legislative action that would encourage parents to teach their kids how to swim before they enter kindergarten. For more information, visit

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drowning Data.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Justice For Shirley Babashoff and Others? FINA Will Explore Doping History and Awarding Proper Medals

Justice For Shirley Babashoff and Others? FINA Will Explore Doping History and Awarding Proper Medals

Shirley BabashoffEnith BrigithaSharron Davies. All three women have Olympic medals to their names, but not the gold color they deserve. Due to the systematic-doping program orchestrated by East Germany during the 1970s and 1980s, Babashoff, Brigitha and Davies were beaten to the wall by performance-enhanced opponents, their rightful place in the sport not recognized.

Now, with FINA pushing for greater transparency and reform under new president Husain Al-Musallam, the governing body for aquatics sports has indicated it will look at past performances and how doping played a role. One possible outcome of an investigation of the past is awarding athletes the medals they would have won in Olympic competition, if not for the presence of the East Germans.

Babashoff and Brigitha finished behind East Germans in several races at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, with Babashoff long calling for the International Olympic Committee and FINA to right those wrongs by upgrading medals of those who finished behind swimmers known to have benefited from performance-enhancing drugs. As for Davies, she was the silver medalist in the 400 individual medley at the 1980 Games in Moscow, where East Germany’s Petra Schneider was the gold medalist.

In a reversal of its former approach, in which it ignored the subject, FINA has indicated it is willing to look at history and, possibly, alter it for the sake of the athletes who suffered injustices in the pool. Although FINA is willing to look at the past, it is important to note that the awarding of retroactive medals will require the approval of the IOC.

If retroactive medals are awarded, it is unlikely the East German athletes will have their medals stripped. As part of the systematic-doping program that was instituted and guided by the government, the athletes were pawns in a political system, and instructed to follow the directions of their coaches and senior officials.

Here are some previous stories by Swimming World that discuss the dark days of doping and the affected athletes.