USA Swimming Foundation Receives President’s Award from National Drowning Prevention Alliance

Photo Courtesy: USA Swimming

At the recent National Drowning Prevention Alliance conference, the USA Swimming Foundation received the President’s Award for the impact made nationwide through the Make a Splash learn-to-swim initiative.

In addition, longtime USA Swimming employees Mick and Sue Nelson received The Ripple Award for their dedication to increase awareness of water safety and the USA Swimming Foundation presented the Make a Splash Hero Award to Pam Cannell, Executive Director of the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition.

“The USA Swimming Foundation is honored to accept this award in recognition of the growth our Make a Splash initiative has seen and the impact it’s had on millions of children and families in communities across the country over the past 10 years” said Tina Dessart, USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Program Director.  “Our ability to affect so many lives is due in part to the support of our partner organizations like the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.”

The recipient of the President’s Award is awarded to an individual, group or organization that is deserving of recognition for efforts in drowning prevention and water safety.

The USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative provides the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim – regardless of race, gender or financial circumstances. It is the nation’s pre-eminent learn to swim initiative, with more than 850 Local Partners nationwide who provide swim lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim. Since 2007, 4.9 million children have learned the critical life-saving skill of swim lessons from Make a Splash Local Partner providers. Thus far, the USA Swimming Foundation has provided more than $4.3 million in grants to Local Partners for free and low cost swimming lessons nationwide.


The Ripple Award is awarded to an individual or group whose involvement or cause has created a ripple that has influenced others to become more aware of water safety or become more involved in drowning prevention. This year, Mick and Sue Nelson, USA Swimming Club Development staff members overseeing facilities and aquatic programming, received the award for their work. Sue is a resource expert and technical consultant who serves USA Swimming members, potential members and aquatics industry professionals, while Mick has helped USA Swim clubs and members with pool project planning both for new and existing pools since 2004 as Facilities Development Director for USA Swimming.

The USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Hero Award is presented to an individual, group, or organization that exemplifies the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash mission of saving lives through swim lessons, and works to help provide every child with the opportunity to learn how to swim.

Since joining the Make a Splash Local Partner network in 2013, Pam Cannell and the Fort Worth Downing Prevention Coalition have put more than 1,000 children through swimming lessons, targeting Fort Worth’s Como neighborhood. The Como neighborhood suffered four pediatric drownings in the summer of 2015. Following this, more than 300 children went through the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition’s lesson program, which also includes water safety education for parents and caregivers.

Press release courtesy of USA Swimming.

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is the host of Swimming World TV and a staff writer for Swimming World. A contributor to the magazine and website since 2009, he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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