Step Into Swim, Rowdy Gaines Win NDPA President's Award

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance is pleased to announce that Vice President of Partnerships & Development Rowdy Gaines and the Step Into Swim program have been awarded the 2022 President’s Award by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.

The NDPA President’s Award is an annual recognition awarded to an individual and/or organization that has made an impact in water safety and drowning prevention in the U.S. NDPA President Blake Collingsworth presented the award yesterday during the organization’s National Water Safety Conference, held in Fort Worth, Texas, April 11-14.

Gaines, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, has been leading PHTA’s Step Into Swim program since January 2021. Step Into Swim is committed to safe swim education and provides funding for free or low-cost swimming lessons around the country. In 2021, Step Into Swim grants were awarded to 22 facilities in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas — funding 6,297 swimming lessons for children.

In his first year with PHTA and Step Into Swim, Gaines established the Step Into Swim Champions Board, secured prominent donors in both the professional swimming sphere and the swimming pool and hot tub industry, and helped Step Into Swim raise over $800,000.

“I am proud to announce Rowdy Gaines as this year’s President’s Award recipient for the many years of service to so many in water safety and drowning prevention,” says Collingsworth. “I personally believe Gaines has not been recognized nearly enough for the work he has done to promote swimming lessons and his efforts to educate the importance of water safety and drowning prevention.”

“I am incredibly honored to receive the President’s Award from the NDPA,” says Gaines. “I share this with all the amazing families that have lost a loved one to drowning. In my mind, this has always been about teamwork with my fellow PHTA staff members and the volunteers who have made a huge impact on water safety through our Step Into Swim initiative. We will continue to persevere in creating safe environments in and around water for families to enjoy.”

To learn more about Step Into Swim and its life-saving mission, visit

For more information, please contact Amy Willer, PHTA’s associate director of marketing & communications, at [email protected] or 703-838-0083 x 121.

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