September 24, 2018

Pool Safely and the Michael Phelps Foundation Honor a Decade of Water Safety

special event logos.

2018 is an important year for the water safety community. It marks 10 years since the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act) took effect, lifesaving legislation that aims to enhance the safety of public and private pools and spas by reducing child drownings and drain entrapments. It is also the 10th anniversary of the Michael Phelps Foundation, which has reached more than 20,000 children with programming focused on promoting water safety, healthy living and the pursuit of dreams.

To honor this landmark year, Pool Safely and the Michael Phelps Foundation hosted a joint water safety event in Peoria, Arizona on Saturday, August 25th. The morning began with a press conference featuring Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat, Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona President Melissa Sutton, Michael Phelps, and CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle.

woman standing at a podium with a pool in the background.

All speakers stressed the importance of remaining vigilant when children are in or around the water, and Acting Chairman Buerkle reiterated that there has not been a single drain entrapment death involving children in public pools and spas in the decade since the passage of the landmark VGB Act. Furthermore, Acting Chair Buerkle challenged pool and spa owners and operators nationwide to ensure they have safe drains to keep drain entrapment deaths at zero, and encouraged the entire water safety community to continue the tireless fight to reduce child drowning deaths through even stronger education efforts.

Following the press conference, Michael Phelps joined Cathy Bennett, the woman who taught him how to swim, and eight-time U.S. medalist Allison Schmitt in the pool to lead a very special swimming lesson for children from the City of Peoria followed by a swim stroke clinic with swimmers from the Special Olympics of Arizona.All speakers stressed the importance of remaining vigilant when children are in or around the water, and Acting Chairman Buerkle reiterated that there has not been a single drain entrapment death involving children in public pools and spas in the decade since the passage of the landmark VGB Act. Furthermore, Acting Chair Buerkle challenged pool and spa owners and operators nationwide to ensure they have safe drains to keep drain entrapment deaths at zero, and encouraged the entire water safety community to continue the tireless fight to reduce child drowning deaths through even stronger education efforts.

michael phelps in a pool helping a young child to swim.

a group of kids in a pool with their hands raised above their heads.

After the in-water activities, participants joined more than 100 children who participated in the Michael Phelps Foundation’s signature im program in Arizona for a community event featuring water safety activity stations. Michael’s mother, Debbie Phelps, kicked off the event before handing it over to Michael Phelps and Acting Chairman Buerkle to lead the children in taking the Pool Safely Pledge.

michael phelps and a woman speaking.

In addition to Pool Safely, Michael Phelps Foundation, and City of Peoria, the community event featured Pool Safely partners CPR Party, Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, JCMF Children’s Charities, National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the ZAC Foundation(which is also honoring its 10th anniversary this year),  as well as local advocates from the City of Peoria Fire-Medical Department and Peoria Firefighters Charities.

If you missed the event, watch a replay of the press conference on the Pool Safely Facebook page.

Make sure to join Michael, his family, Acting Chairman Buerkle, and more than 80,000 others and take the Pool Safely Pledge to commit to water safety year-round and lay the groundwork for the next ten years and beyond.

michael phelps and ann marie buerkle smiling.


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