Bob Luedtke has been an IPSSA member for more than 25 years. He has served on the IPSSA BORD in the past as CFO, president and education chair. As a result, he has been aware that IPSSA chapters have, for many years, provided funding for free swim lessons to their local communities.

“The Diamond Bar IPSSA chapter is a prime example,” Luedtke says. “They have been providing funding to pay for swim lessons at their local pool for many years and have helped that community by teaching hundreds of kids and adults to swim through the funding they provide the pool for swim lessons.” 

Luedtke realized he wanted to make it easier for IPSSA chapters throughout the country to offer the same support for swim lessons. As a result, he arranged for donations from several manufacturers and organizations to seed the newly created IPSSA Swim Fund, which will match donations provided by local IPSSA chapters toward swim lessons. 
“Hayward generously provided our initial cash infusion, as did NSPF and Zodiac,” Luedtke notes. “We are very grateful for their support of this initiative.” 

The IPSSA Swim Fund has a simple structure: It provides matching funds, up to $500.00, for any IPSSA chapter who wishes to offer swim lessons in their community. For example, if an IPSSA chapter donates $300 to their local pool, the IPSSA Swim Fund will match the contribution with an additional $300 so that the IPSSA chapter can instead contribute $600.00 in funding to provide swim lessons.

National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Tom Lachocki has also decided to support the swim fund.  “NSPF decided to be a sponsor for the IPSSA Swim Fund for four reasons,” he says. “First, creating swimmers helps more people live healthier lives. Second, early childhood swim lessons reduces childhood drowning by 88 percent. Third, creating swimmers builds demand and growth for swimming pools, spas and aquatic facilities. Finally, we admire IPSSA and their leadership in supporting the service professionals.”

“Zodiac is proud to support IPSSA and all their efforts,” says Steve Gutai, director of sales and marketing for Zodiac’s after-market division. “We believe that every person, child or adult, should have the opportunity to learn to swim because swimming not only has numerous health benefits but also provides enjoyment and fun to families and their friends.”

Jason Lehmann, IPSSA education chair, worked with Luedtke to get the ball rolling.

“Our local IPSSA chapter has also been providing support for swim lessons for many years in Texas, working with the National Drowning Prevention Association, APSP and even the Safe Kids organization through the Cooks Children’s Hospital in Dallas-Ft Worth — all focused on increasing awareness of the importance of learning to swim with the goal of preventing drowning. Our support has helped graduate hundreds of new swimmers in the community.  We wanted to expand our contribution to these swim lessons on a national level.” 

The new IPSSA Swim Fund is designed to do just that. IPSSA finds it paramount to promote safe and healthy swimming as IPSSA members are around pools each day. IPSSA works closely with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and has been donating $5,000.00 a year to NDPA for their efforts to educate swimmers across the country.

“We are proud to be a part of this movement which is essential to the overall health and enjoyment of swimming for our industry,” says Amy Nijjar, executive director for IPSSA.
We are getting the word out to our IPSSA chapters now so they can make an impact with swimming lessons this summer,” says Luedtke.  “Our goal is to make this a long-term fund that will make a significant contribution toward ensuring that children and adults learn to swim to prevent drowning.”

In order to keep the fund on-going, IPSSA continues to look for partners throughout the swimming pool industry to contribute to the fund, from manufacturers to associations and individuals who understand the long-term importance of teaching an individual to swim. Companies, groups or individuals interested in contributing to the IPSSA Swim Fund should contact Amy Nijjar, IPSSA executive director, anijjar@ipssa.com.

IPSSA Chapters interested in obtaining matching funds to support swimming lessons in their community should contact the IPSSA Executive Office in Los Alamitos, Calif., by calling (888) 360-9505 to receive an application.