Editor's Desk - February 2008
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Swimming Lessons

have a confession to make: I don't really know how to swim. Oh, I can get by OK with a relatively effective doggie-paddle, and I'm not afraid to put my head under the water, but I never really got past the float-on-your-stomach/float-on-your-back part of swim lessons. You see, once we had mastered those basics, my swim instructor thought it was time to throw us in "the deep end." I think I was in first grade. And I never went back.

But I have to admit that reading through the stories about various design, safety and programming trends at aquatic facilities, I have some regrets. I wish I had gone back—at some point—so that I could really take advantage of all these wonderful new trends—not to mention all the other kinds of fun I don't take part in as a result: kayaking, whitewater rafting, triathlons and so on.

So listen up, all you operators of aquatic facilities. Here's a golden opportunity for you. Keep reaching out to kids with your swimming lessons. Keep innovating new approaches—slides, lazy rivers and so on—to fun in the water to draw more people. Keep looking for new ways to meet the needs of various segments of the population with aquatic exercise of all kinds.

And now, find a way to reach out to those of us who missed the boat. Because I have a feeling that there's a vast untapped market of potential swimmers out there who just need to hear the right message at the right time to get their feet wet.

In the meantime, I invite you to turn through these pages to learn about some of the latest goings-on in the aquatics industry—from design trends passed down from waterparks to the most recent legislation aimed to prevent death and injury due to entrapment, from coming up with a smart marketing plan to finding innovative new programs to bring more of your community members through the door.


Emily Tipping