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Step Into Swim Celebrates Program Partnerships in Mission to Create More Swimmers

Pool & hot tub industry partners help Step Into Swim increase access to water safety education, kick off program year at the Pool and Spa Show



Step Into Swim Celebrates Program Partnerships in Mission to Create More Swimmers

(Atlantic City, NJ) – Step Into Swim, an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) dedicated to creating more swimmers through safe swim education, announced ongoing partnerships with key program supporters Fluidra, Hayward Holdings, Inc., and Heritage Pool Supply Group. Each one shares Step Into Swim’s commitment to increase access to swim lessons and instill overall water confidence in the name of drowning prevention, reflective in key partner celebrations at this week’s Pool and Spa Show hosted by the Northeast Spa and Pool Association.

“It is so great to have the opportunity to meet with our partners in person and celebrate their contributions to the next generation of swimmers,” says Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Vice President of Partnerships and Development for PHTA, who leads the Step Into Swim initiative. “Fluidra, Hayward, and Heritage Pool Supply Group have been integral in growing our mission and their financial contributions will help Step Into Swim reach our goal of raising $750,000 to provide learn-to-swim grants. These grants will provide thousands of children with proper, safe swim education and help reduce drowning.”

Partnership Celebration with Fluidra – Bruce Brooks, Fluidra CEO; Sabeena Hickman, CAE, PHTA President & CEO; Rowdy Gaines, PHTA Vice President of Partnerships & Development, Lennie Rhoades, Fluidra North America President; Scott Frost, Fluidra North American Vice President of Sales; Charlie Claffey, PHTA Chair; Joe Laurino, PhD, PHTA Chair-Elect.)

Fluidra, a publicly listed company focused on developing innovative products, services, and IoT solutions for the residential and commercial pool markets, committed $100,000 to Step Into Swim. The partnership, which was celebrated with a ceremonial check presentation and photo opportunity at the industry tradeshow, underscores Fluidra’s mission to provide the perfect pool and wellness experience for all and its shared belief in investing in the effort to teach people the lifesaving skill of learning to swim so that they may do so. The generous donation will help Step Into Swim provide learn-to-swim programming for 2,000 children.

“As a leader in the aquatics industry, it’s on us to help create equal access to aquatic enjoyment and that includes the opportunity to learn how to swim,” says Lennie Rhoades, President of Fluidra North America. “That’s why we are honored to be working with Step Into Swim again and are delighted to contribute to their cause as they continue to make waves by prioritizing learning to swim, saving lives, and raising awareness about drowning prevention as well as water safety.”

Hayward Holdings donates $50,000 to Step Into Swim
Hayward Holdings donates $50,000 to Step Into Swim

Partnership Celebration with Hayward Holdings, Inc. – L to R: Eifion Jones, Hayward Senior Vice President & CFO; Stuart Baker, Hayward Vice President of Business Development; Rick Roetken, Hayward President North America; Albert Miller, Hayward Vice President of Sales North America; Kevin Holleran, Hayward President & CEO; Rowdy Gaines, PHTA Vice President of Partnerships & Development; Sabeena Hickman, CAE, PHTA President & CEO; Charlie Claffey, PHTA Chair; Joe Laurino, PhD, PHTA Chair-Elect; Bob Blanda, PHTA Board Member.)

Hayward Holdings, Inc., a global designer, manufacturer, and marketer of a broad portfolio of pool and outdoor living technology, committed $50,000 to Step Into Swim. The partnership, which was celebrated with a photo opportunity at the industry tradeshow, furthers Hayward’s purpose-driven approach to community commitment. The generous donation will help Step Into Swim provide learn-to-swim programming for 1,000 children.

“At Hayward, our vision—to inspire happiness and well-being through safe, smart, and sustainable solutions—drives everything we do, including our impact on the world. We are proud to continue to support Step Into Swim and help inspire the next generation of swimmers,” says Kevin Holleran, President & CEO of Hayward.

Benefit Concert Hosted by Heritage Pool Supply Group - Donates $30,000 to Step Into Swim
Benefit Concert Hosted by Heritage Pool Supply Group

SIS Heritage Cares Atlantic City – L to R: Dave Cook, Heritage Cares Pool Group President; Rowdy Gaines, PHTA Vice President of Partnerships & Development; Andrew Petrozziello, Heritage Pool Supply Group COO; Clayton Hatten, Heritage Pool Supply Group Regional Vice President of Tile/Pool Hardscapes & Florida.)

Heritage Pool Supply Group, one of the largest and fastest-growing privately held wholesale distributors in the U.S., continues to support Step Into Swim and Swim Across America with benefit events hosted by its Heritage Cares, the Heritage Family of Companies philanthropy. The philanthropy planned a charity concert during the industry tradeshow with 38 Special and Lynyrd Skynyrd taking the stage at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.

“As a member of the aquatics industry, we believe learning to swim is a critical lifesaving skill that can empower young swimmers to stay safe in the water,” says Dave Cook, President of Heritage Cares Pool Group. “Heritage Cares prides itself on supporting initiatives that align with our mission and positively impact communities across the country, such as Step Into Swim.”

Contributions from industry partners are integral to growing Step Into Swim’s mission. In 2022, the program raised over $750,000, which provided grants to more than 60 facilities in 43 states and funded swim lessons for 23,500 children. The initiative has gifted more than 300,000 swim lessons since 2012 through YMCAs, Jewish Community Centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, and many more. The program is funded through contributions and 100 percent of donations go to Step Into Swim initiatives and learn-to-swim programming. To learn more, 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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Marianne Trusty is a Press Correspondent for the pool & spa industry. A published author and social media influencer reaching over 20 million people around the world each day. Contact Marianne about publishing op-editorials, breaking pool news and press releases at [email protected]

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Chlorine Poisoning Incident at Swimming Pool in Italy

Chlorine poisoning sent 25 swimmers to the hospital at a pool in Italy, according to reports.



Chlorine Poisoning Incident at Swimming Pool in Italy

A mass chlorine poisoning incident occurred in a swimming pool in Italy’s Bosco Chiesanuova municipality, located in Verona. Officially reported that 25 individuals were injured, including children as young as three years old. Those affected were hospitalized after the incident.

The Monti Lessini Sports Centre witnessed a significant emergency response due to the incident, with cops, firefighters, and paramedics arriving at the scene. Nuclear experts, belonging to a specialized firefighting unit known as the NBCR (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical and Radiological) operatives, were also present.

The experts were summoned to help evacuate the pool, which had been contaminated with chlorine gas that was released around 10 am. The NBCR operatives are a “specialized group of firefighters that is called to intervene in exceptional situations,” as described by Italy’s Ministry of the Interior. Those who were seriously affected by the gas were transported to hospitals in Negrar, Borgo Trento, and Borgo Roma, while others were taken to medical centers in minibusses.

25 individuals were rushed to local area hospitals after a chlorine poisoning incident occurred in Verona, Italy.
25 individuals were rushed to local area hospitals after a chlorine poisoning incident occurred in Verona, Italy.

Out of the 25 individuals who were poisoned, nine were nursery school children aged between 3 and 6, who were at the pool for a swimming lesson. Four swimmers were severely affected by the toxic gas, and the manager of the pool was also hospitalized. Investigations suggest that the poisoning occurred due to a miscalculation of the amount of chlorine needed to sterilize the pool. Local media reports state that a massive overdose of chlorine led to a cloud of toxic gas rising from the water and poisoning swimmers.

The incident is reminiscent of a situation that occurred at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in 2021. Incorrect installation of a water filtration system resulted in 65 people being rushed to the hospital after the release of pool-sanitizing chemicals.

Chlorine gas can be fatal if breathed in and was used by the Germans as a weapon in World War I. Victims can experience shortness of breath, blurred vision, burning pain in the nose, eyes, and throat, as well as blisters on the skin.

This is not the only poisoning incident this year, as hundreds of girls fell ill in Iran’s schools due to a “deliberate poisoning” with chemical compounds. Chlorine gas was also used in these attacks, with victims suffering from similar symptoms as those in Italy.

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Claiming Your Swimming Pool as a Tax Deduction



Claiming Your Swimming Pool as a Tax Deduction for Medical Expenses

If you or a loved one has a medical condition that requires a swimming pool for therapy, you may be able to claim the cost of constructing a pool as a medical tax deduction. Many Americans are unaware of this tax break, which can also apply to other medical expenses such as assistant medical equipment.

Using a Swimming Pool as a Tax Deduction

Aaron Rogers owner of Southern Poolscapes recently informed a customer that they could claim part of their pool construction as a medical expense deduction on his taxes. “He built the pool to use for therapy after a recent spinal fusion,” said Rogers, “as we tallied the bill up he mentioned, ‘boy, I wish I could claim this on my taxes’, and that’s when I mentioned it to him.”

Rogers claims it isn’t the first time he’s seen someone do this but because his customer had all the right paperwork, a good portion of her swimming pool was tax deductible. “All in, I believe his net deduction came close to $50,000,” said Rogers, “in some instances, if it is doctor-recommended, the IRS allows it.”

Medical Deduction for Swimming Pools & Spas

For example, therapy pools, spas, and other similar facilities that are recommended by a doctor can be eligible for the medical tax deduction. Additionally, if you need assistant medical equipment such as a chair lift, safety rails, or other modifications to the pool, these costs can also be claimed as part of the deduction.

Installing a swimming pool or hot tub at home can be recommended by a doctor for various medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and chronic pain. Pools are also commonly used for physical therapy, particularly in cases where a person is unable to bear their full weight on a leg or other part of their body.

Claiming a therapy pool as a tax deduction may be possible with the right documentation.
Claiming a therapy pool as a tax deduction may be possible with the right documentation.

How You Claim Your Pool as a Tax Write-Off

Moreover, if you build a pool for medical reasons, it can make sense to claim the tax deduction. Building a pool can be a significant expense, but if it’s recommended by a physician, the deduction can help offset some of the costs. Plus, having a pool can provide a therapeutic benefit to the individual with the medical condition, improving their quality of life.

However, it’s important to note that there are some limitations to the medical expense deduction. Firstly, you need to itemize deductions on Schedule A, rather than taking the standard deduction. Additionally, eligible expenses must be above 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI) to qualify for the deduction. For example, if a couple has an AGI of $200,000, they can only deduct eligible medical expenses above $15,000.

Who is Eligible?

Based on the latest IRS data, in 2020, approximately 4 million tax filers claimed medical expenses as a deduction on their Schedule A. This is in contrast to the approximately 12 million filers who claimed mortgage interest and the approximately 13 million filers who claimed charitable donations. Despite this, the average medical expense deduction was approximately $20,000, indicating that this deduction was particularly valuable for those who qualified and likely came at a time when any tax relief was greatly appreciated.

Even if a taxpayer’s medical expenses don’t exceed the deduction threshold, it’s still important to understand what expenses qualify for the deduction. This is because the same expenses that are eligible for the deduction can also be reimbursed through a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account, without the requirement of meeting the 7.5% AGI threshold.

Claiming a Medical Expense Deduction for your Pool

To claim the medical expense deduction, you will need to keep good records and documentation of all expenses related to the construction of the pool or other medical expenses. The IRS provides a comprehensive list of eligible medical and dental expenses in Publication 502, which includes costs related to the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Examples include bandages, guide dogs, nursing home and assisted living care, and special-education tuition.

In at least one case, the IRS did not allow a taxpayer to deduct installation costs for his pool because the taxpayer did not have sufficient medical documentation to support his claim. The taxpayer only provided a statement from his doctor advising him to lose weight, but this alone was not enough to qualify for the medical expense deduction. It’s important to have proper documentation and meet all the requirements set by the IRS to avoid being denied the deduction.

The IRS has an extensive list of tax deductible home improvement expenses that are eligible for a medical deduction. While constructing a swimming pool would be considered a capital expense, it could still be considered for a medical deduction.

When claiming a medical deduction for expenses that add permanent value to a home, such as a swimming pool, the taxpayer is required to obtain an appraisal of the increase in the home’s value as a result of the modification. The amount of the deduction must then be reduced by the appraised value increase. This is to prevent taxpayers from claiming a deduction for expenses that are not directly related to their medical condition.

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Floating Swimming Pool Proposed For San Francisco Bay Area



Floating Swimming Pool Proposed For San Francisco Bay Area

A floating swimming pool has been proposed for the city of San Francisco and set to be the city’s first public pool of its kind, bringing a new type of aquatic experience to the Bay Area. Located on the San Francisco Bay, the heated, Olympic-sized pool would float on Piers 30-32, which are currently used for parking and will be rebuilt as part of the project.

The proposed floating pool would be surrounded by retail space, offices, and housing, including an apartment tower with 725 units, 25% of which would offer affordable housing. San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener proposed legislation in 2021 authorizing the construction of the pool on the state-owned piers. The plan proposes a unique recreational and relaxation space while also protecting the city’s waterfront from climate change and sea-level rise.

The concept has faced challenges, as previous attempts to revitalize the piers have been unsuccessful. Previous plans to turn the area into a stadium, a museum, and a cruise terminal have fallen through. However, Wiener is optimistic that this project will succeed. He believes that the previous plans failed because they tried to rehabilitate the piers, while this project involves completely rebuilding them. The success of the project depends on approval from the city, state, and various other agencies.

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Floating swimming pool for San Francisco, CA.

The floating pool would be built on one of the two piers, with the other pier being converted into 375,000 square feet of offices and 45,000 square feet of retail space. The swimming pool would include space for lap swimming, water polo games, and lounging in a hot tub. A section of the Bay surrounding the pool will be dedicated to open water swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

The project, similar to the Plus Pool being proposed for the East River in New York City, aims to create an attractive and sustainable space that will enhance the waterfront, providing opportunities for new homes and public spaces that can be enjoyed by all.

The new plan for the project is a change from earlier versions, which emphasized commercial space on the piers, giving the impression of a large office park with a little waterfront recreation. The latest version of the project emphasizes swimming, with a focus on public access to the Bay and views of the Bay Bridge. The plan now calls for a single pier to be rebuilt, with the remaining pier to be converted into an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a shallow pool for people learning to swim, a hot tub, and shower facilities. Along the Embarcadero, there would be a market hall with food kiosks and artisan stands where makers can sell their goods.

Floating pool proposed for the Bay Area.

The project’s developers, Strada Investment Group and Trammell Crow, hope to attract bay swimmers with a roped-off area similar to the aquatic park near Crissy Field. They plan to heat the pools, most likely with fresh water, rather than the frigid water pumped in from the Bay. Developers have also released new renderings of the piers, which is more public-oriented than previous plans.

The piers’ redevelopment plan is designed to revitalize the Embarcadero and make it a more enjoyable public experience. The project’s success depends on making the Embarcadero feel less like walking by a couple of office building lobbies and more like an engaging, waterfront destination. The concept has undergone several changes in response to feedback from state agencies, particularly those that regulate the waterfront. The changes reflect the desire to create a space that is more in line with the natural environment, with a greater emphasis on public spaces and water recreation.

The project has faced several challenges, including the fact that the site where the project is proposed to be built is owned by the state, which means that special legislative approval would be required before a developer can build there. The project must also get approval from the city, the state, and several other agencies.

Developers hope that the floating pool will provide a unique aquatic experience in San Francisco, drawing locals and tourists alike to the Bay Area. The concept has received strong support from San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who said that the project would help the city to invest in critical infrastructure that would protect the waterfront from climate change and sea level rise while also creating opportunities for new homes and new spaces for the public to enjoy along the city’s gorgeous waterfront.

Photo Credits: Strada Investment Group

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