Over the past decade, meaningful research has positively impacted the aquatics industry, but additional research is needed. Areas of additional research are being identified, with many coming from the Model Health Code initiative. Recent areas of study have included:
- Supervising Young Children at Public Pools
- Land-Based vs Underwater Treadmills in Aquatic Exercise
- Lifeguard Perceptions of CPR
- How Adolescents Modify Start Entries
- C-Zones Framework for Examining Drowning
- Swimmer Hygiene Behavior
- “Float First” Drowning Prevention Strategy
- Racing Start Safety – Effects of Water Depth
- Need to Revise Chlorine Standards for Pools
- Strength Games From Aquatic Exercise
- Aquatic Exercise for Asthmatics
- Older Adult Balance Training Using Water Exercise
- Swimmer Responses When Caught In A Rip Current
The findings from this research can be referenced in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education.
As we look to the future, the question of “How can the industry have the best positive impact for the dollar?” was a recent topic of discussion with industry leader, Bill Kent. Bill’s challenge was “What if we taught 1 million new swimmers? Not just one demographic group, but a cross section of the population focusing on adults and children alike. What impact would this have on inactivity, obesity, and quality of life for the aging society?”
Return on investment: If each person cost $50 to teach to swim, then it would take $50 million to reach this goal. While this figure may seem overwhelming, put this into context of the $4.8 billion estimated (300,000 pools X $16,000) spent on the recent VGB mandate and the unknown amount spent on chasing the current changing definition of the ADA mandates. Joe Hunsaker often said, “Don’t confuse the urgent with the important”. In reviewing how we have prioritized our investment in the aquatics industry, it appears as an industry that we are guilty of focusing on the urgent and not the important - teaching the life skill of swimming.
The good news is the “Step Into Swim” Campaign Announced by the National Swimming Pool Foundation. This effort tries to reprioritize the importance of learning the life skill of swimming. John Puetz, President of the National Swimming Pool Foundation Board of Directors, was quoted as saying “I dream of the day this campaign creates a million MORE swimmers.” My challenge to the nine organizations who are key to delivering this goal is this: Don’t lose focus on the importance of actually teaching a million new swimmers. After taking care of the urgent, let’s get back to focusing on the important.