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Worried about COVID-19 at the pool? Americans are split, survey finds

Swimmers most worry about crowds, want limited capacity at public pools

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Covid-19 Pool Worries?

With the weather getting warmer and vaccinations surging, public pools are starting to reopen and a growing number of Americans are making plans to take the plunge this summer. But a new survey finds that swimmers are divided on whether those pools will offer a refreshing respite from the pandemic.

The survey found that 70% of Americans plan to swim in a pool this summer, up from 52% last year. But more swimmers at the pool means greater concern about people spreading COVID-19. Overall, more than half of Americans (52%) worry about COVID-19 at public pools, and among that group, 82% are especially concerned about large crowds at the pool.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through pool water. Proper operation and disinfection of pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19

“It’s finally time to get back in the water, as long as we’re practicing socially safe behaviors,” said Rowdy Gaines, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, who is working with the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance to educate swimmers about COVID-19 safety, as well as general health and hygiene information for summer pool visits.


So what should pool operators do to make swimmers feel comfortable this summer? According to the survey, most Americans (57%) want public pools to limit capacity above anything else. Interestingly, vaccination status appears to do little to ease swimmers’ concerns, with 59% of already-vaccinated Americans saying they would still require limited pool capacity to swim in a public pool.

“This summer, as more Americans make plans to swim in pools, it’s important for us to keep safety in mind by maintaining a social distance from others, even in the water and on the pool deck,” added Gaines.

Also, the CDC recommends setting a clear COVID protocol at each establishment, such as determining cleaning procedures, when employees should stay home, and what to do in case of exposure — and staying updated with the latest CDC guidance on operating public pools, hot tubs, water playgrounds during COVID-19.

Finally, pool operators should clearly communicate expectations to swimmers, including any face mask policies, if applicable.

“This summer, Americans are cautiously optimistic about the prospects of swimming safely in pools — at their backyard pool, a public pool, or while vacationing at a resort pool,” said Sabeena Hickman, President and CEO of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. “Together, by following proper safety protocols, we can all enjoy the 2021 swimming pool season.”

Learn more about healthy swimming this summer at HealthyPools.org.

Methodology: Sachs Media conducted the 2021 Healthy Pools survey on behalf of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, the world’s oldest and largest association representing swimming pool, spa, and hot tub manufacturers, manufacturers’ agents, builders, designers, distributors, suppliers, installers, retailers, and service technicians. The survey interviewed 2,000 American adults online April 9-10, 2021, with the intent to measure perceptions and behaviors related to swimming pools and public health. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 2.2% at the 95% confidence level, and results were nationally representative of American adults in terms of age, race, gender, region, and household income.

For more information, please contact Janay Rickwalder, PHTA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, at jrickwalder@phta.org or 703.357.3918.

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Press Releases

Pool & Hot Tub Alliance President & CEO Sabeena Hickman Elected to National Drowning Prevention Alliance Board

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Sabeena Hickman, CEO of Pool & Hot Tub Alliance was elected to National Drowning Prevention Alliance Board

(Alexandria, Va.) – The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) is pleased to announce that its president and CEO, Sabeena Hickman, CAE, has been elected to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) Board of Directors.

NDPA’s mission statement is, “United, we can prevent the tragedy of drowning.” Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1–4, and number two for children up to age 14. NDPA says, “Not one more drowning.” It works closely with families who have lost loved ones to advocate for safer aquatic practices and provides a wide range of resources on drowning prevention.

Hickman joins seven other outstanding individuals on the NDPA Board of Directors who work in different parts of the pool industry, healthcare, and emergency services. Together, this group is committed to expanding and promoting NDPA’s lifesaving work.

Hickman was selected in part due to her work in expanding the Step Into Swim initiative and her belief that those working in the pool and hot tub industry should take a lead in drowning prevention efforts.

“As an alliance, we want to make sure that all facets of the pool and hot tub industry are included in the discussions about water safety,” explains Dr. Adam Katchmarchi, Executive Director, NDPA. “There is a close connection between NDPA and PHTA and what we’re both trying to achieve with water safety. We are pleased to have Hickman’s voice on our board to represent the industry. Also, on an individual level, Hickman’s nonprofit and association management experience will be incredibly valuable to our organization.”

“I am honored to serve on the NDPA Board of Directors,” says Hickman. “Drowning prevention should be top of mind for everyone in the pool and hot tub industry. We have a commitment to not just manufacture, build, or service pools and hot tubs, but to educate the public on using them safely. We can all play a role in preventing drownings and saving lives.”

To learn more about NDPA, visit ndpa.org.

For more information, please contact Janay Rickwalder, PHTA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, at jrickwalder@phta.org or 703.357.3918.

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About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
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.

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Press Releases

Float Like A Duck, Water Safety Initiative Receives Step Into Swim Grant

YMCA of Southern Nevada- Safety Around Water Program to benefit from Grant Funds

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Float Like a Duck Received $5000 grant from PHTA's Step Into Swim Program

(LAS VEGAS, NV) September 14, 2021 – Float Like A Duck™, a water safety initiative presented by Paragon Pools in Las Vegas, NV received a grant from Step Into Swim, the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) drowning prevention initiative.  The grant funds of $5,000, will be utilized in a collaboration with Float Like a Duck and the YMCA of Southern Nevada’s Safety Around Water Program.

“We would like to thank the Step Into Swim Champions Board for recognizing the value of our Float Like A Duck- water safety initiative and our partnership with the YMCA of Southern Nevada – Safety Around Water swimming program,” states Joseph Vassallo, CBP president of Paragon Pools and founder of Float Like A Duck. “We are very excited to receive the grant of $5,000.00. Many at-risk youths in the community will benefit from the grant funding by participating in the program at no-cost to the students.”

Since 2016, Float Like a Duck and Paragon Pools has supported the YMCA’s Safety Around Water with funding to provide support for the program that provides no-cost swimming classes to the Las Vegas community.  To date close to 1,200 children have been enrolled in the program.

“Paragon Pools’ commitment to drowning prevention and water safety education with the Float Like a Duck program is inspiring,” said PHTA Vice President of Partnerships and Development Rowdy Gaines. “Through programs like this, Step Into Swim can get closer to achieving its mission of creating one million more swimmers!”

The Y’s Safety Around Water Program teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared. It is designed to reach children at-risk of drowning and teach them basic water safety skills.  The 8-session course takes children through a series of swimming and safety classes to prepare them for fun and safe water activity. The program is provided at no-cost to the participants.

Families interested in learning more about the YMCA of Southern Nevada– Safety Around Water program may contact the YMCA at (702) 877-9622. Step Into Swim, an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), has recently distributed $99,590 in grant funds to 22 facilities across the country, reaching 6,297 children.

About Float Like A Duck™

Founded in 2003, Float Like A Duck™ is an award-winning public service water safety initiative created by Paragon Pools of Las Vegas with a mission of “Educating the public on the importance of safety while celebrating the joys of water sports.” The initiative focuses on ENFORCING the ABC&D’s of water safety, with a BIG emphasis on A-adult supervision. This program has been recognized by the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, Nevada Governor’s Points of Light Awards, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, and the National Water Safety Congress. Paragon Pools is a partner with Pool Safely, National Water Safety Month and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and is a member of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA). FMI go to https://www.paragonpoolslv.com/float-like-a-duck

About the YMCA of Southern Nevada

Established locally in 1944, the YMCA of Southern Nevada is a 501c3 nonprofit and is one of the longest-serving and most-respected organizations of its kind in Las Vegas. The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. https://www.lasvegasymca.org/  .

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Press Releases

Water Safety PSA wins 2021 International VIDDY Award

PSA Focuses on Water Safety Tips for Children 1-4 years of age.

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Water Safety PSA - Float Like A Duck Wins Viddy Award

About Float Like A Duck™ 

Founded in 2003, Float Like A Duck™ is an award-winning public service water safety initiative created by Paragon Pools of Las Vegas with a mission of “Educating the public on the importance of safety while celebrating the joys of water sports.” The initiative focuses on ENFORCING the ABC&D’s of water safety, with a BIG emphasis on A-adult supervision. Paragon Pools is a partner with Pool Safely, National Water Safety Month and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and is a member of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA). FMI go to https://www.paragonpoolslv.com/float-like-a-duck 

About UMC Children’s Hospital 

UMC Children’s Hospital offers Nevada’s highest level of pediatric care, providing a wide range of exclusive and highly specialized services to the community’s youngest patients. UMC Children’s Hospital is home to Nevada’s only designated pediatric trauma center. UMC Children’s Hospital serves as the state’s only hospital to be recognized and accepted as an associate member of the Children’s Hospital Association. UMC Children’s Hospital is staffed around the clock by board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric emergency medicine and pediatric critical care physicians to provide young patients with the high-quality, specialized care they deserve. For more information, please visit www.chnv.org

About the YMCA of Southern Nevada 

Established locally in 1944, the YMCA of Southern Nevada is a 501c3 nonprofit and is one of the longest-serving and most-respected organizations of its kind in Las Vegas. The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. https://www.lasvegasymca.org/

About Mary B Vail, MBA Publicist 

Mary Vail, MBA is an award-winning Las Vegas based publicist known for her innovative PR and marketing campaigns as well as her philanthropic efforts that extend across the globe. She is the author of “What’s Your Philanthropic Footprint?”. Vail earned a BS from the University of Hawaii, an MBA from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Lee Business School Executive MBA program, and a Certificate in Social Sector Leadership from Berkeley University-Berkeley Haas School of Business: Philanthropy University. https://www.maryvailpublicist.com/ 

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