Ever since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed making a wish by tossing pennies into a fountain. My father would always grumble when I asked him for the coins. “Why do people feel that every time they see a small body of water, they must immediately throw money into it?” he’d ask.

I’m still not entirely sure of the answer to that question. But I think my father was making a deeper point than he might have realized.

For thousands of years, people have been throwing money into water in the hopes that it will bring them good fortune. During the archeological discovery of a well in northern England, scientists found approximately 16,000 coins. The well itself was on the grounds of a Roman temple, so we can infer that the money was tossed in as some sort of offering. The coins came from the first century all the way up through the fifth. Thus, the well served its purpose for a great many years.

I have been tossing coins and making wishes for most of my life, but I only recently stopped to consider the exact theory that goes into it. In ancient times, as well as today, people who throw money into a fountain don’t believe that the power to grant their wish lies in the vessel itself. Instead, it’s the water that’s somehow seen as a direct conduit to the actual “wish granter.”

Other than air, water is the No. 1 requirement for human survival. It’s the substance that makes up most of our bodies. It’s our first home. Seen in that regard, swimming becomes an act of great beauty and profound joy.

How lucky we are to be in an industry where bringing more people into the water is the primary goal.