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by USMS

December 13, 2017

Grant total of nearly $120K is largest in foundation’s history

Sarasota, Fla., December 13, 2017—More than 50 adult learn-to-swim programs across the country will receive support from the USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation next year, in what is a significant expansion of the foundation’s reach.

The 52 programs will receive nearly $120,000 in funding, the largest amount given in a single year by the foundation, which has distributed $430,000 since 2012 to swim-lessons providers and programs that work with adult clients. In 2017 SSLF, which is the charitable arm of U.S. Masters Swimming, supported 38 programs with $88,000 in grant funding.

“The foundation’s growth is attributed to many things, including the number and size of the donations,” says SSLF board of trustees chair Jay DeFinis. “But what we’re really excited about is the increase in the number of qualified applicants. Swim-lessons providers are understanding how important it is to reach out to adults—the moms and dads who bring kids to swim lessons—so that whole families can enjoy the water together safely. We’re proud that the foundation is able to work with so many worthy programs in 2018.”

More than a third of adults in the United States can’t swim the length of a 25-yard pool, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, putting them at risk of becoming one of the 10 people who drown every day in the US. Additionally, research from the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis shows that there’s only a 19-percent chance of a child learning to swim if the child comes from a nonswimming household. SSLF aims to reduce risks like these by helping to make swimming lessons accessible and effective for as many adults as possible.

All grant awards include swim-instructor education from USMS. The USMS Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor Certification Program was launched in 2015 and, to date, more than 1,100 instructors have been certified. USMS-certified ALTS instructors are trained in techniques and methods that work best for adult learners.

“The education component is part of what makes our grant programs so successful,” says Holly Neumann, manager of USMS’s adult learn-to-swim and foundation programs. “We know our grant program providers have the right tools and training to work with adult learners, and we love hearing from our instructors and their students about their lessons. The outcomes are overwhelmingly positive.”

USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation partners have the calendar year in which to use their grant funding, and many do special programming during SSLF’s annual April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month campaign, when many USMS clubs also offer adult-swim lessons in their communities.

“The three pieces of USMS’s ALTS initiative—SSLF grants, instructor certification, and the April campaign—work nicely together to offer the best possible learn-to-swim experience for adults,” Neumann says. “USMS has long been the leader in adult competitive and fitness swimming. The ALTS initiative shows its commitment to encouraging all adults to swim.”

Anyone interested in adult learn-to-swim lessons should visit usms.org/learntoswim.

CONTACT: Holly Neumann 941-556-6285 | hneumann@usmastersswimming.org


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