Recently, my job as editor of Pool & Spa News expanded. My new title is editor in chief and I am now also in charge of the print version of our sister publication, Aquatics International.
Overseeing the editorial content of both magazines is going to be a challenge, but I’m really looking forward to increasing my knowledge to include a different industry.
Aquatics International is read by a highly disparate group — from lifeguards to waterpark executives — and while they all earn their livelihoods from swimming in some way, that’s where the commonality ends. What are the chief concerns of an aquatics facility manager? What issues are top-of-mind for an architect who designs large municipal pools? How are these folks affected by new codes and legislation coming down the pike? I have only the vaguest idea at this point.
So, to learn more about this new group of readers (or new or me, anyway) I attended a trade show sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association. I don’t know what I expected — maybe something slightly bureaucratic and intimidating — but what I saw was a vibrant industry full of new ideas, research, outreach and a deep, heartfelt commitment to the benefits of aquatics.
My big takeaway from the day I spent there was that the residential pool and spa industry and the aquatics aspect of the business are different sides of the same coin. The coin in question is a love of water, and each side has an equally important contribution to make in bringing that love to as many people as possible.
While a backyard pool is more likely to be a focus for family togetherness and a municipal pool for the act of swimming, the positive memories of one can feed the desire for another. Moreover, one of the best ways to keep children safe from drowning in a residential pool is to teach them to swim, something that for many families is more likely to happen in a local aquatics facility.
Speaking personally, I enrolled my son in swim lessons from the Red Cross as soon as he was old enough. Since then, he has spent thousands of hours at friends’ houses enjoying their pools.
All this is to say that I’m very much looking forward to this new chapter of my career and, as always, would welcome any suggestions or comments from you as I plan Aquatic International’s contents for 2013.