Twelfth Annual WAHC Successfully Inspires the Aquatic Industry
Attendees Met an Olympian, Celebrated 50 Years for NSPF, and Learned More about Aquatics
Colorado Springs, COLORADO, October 27, 2015 – The 12th annual World Aquatic Health™ Conference (WAHC) was successfully held in Scottsdale, Arizona, October 8-9 by the National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF®). People came together to speak, learn, and network to shape and promote growth within the aquatics industry.
A record-setting 46 states were represented along with 11 different nationalities; the United States, Austria, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Sint Maarten, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. “People are safer and the future looks more prosperous as a result of the industry, government, and academic leaders coming together to prevent injuries, illnesses, and drowning, while also promoting the health benefits of aquatics,” stated Thomas Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of the NSPF. “It is eye-opening to see how much people can benefit from our industry. The future is bright!”
The WAHC is a scientific conference, attracting a wide range of professionals involved in the aquatic industry. These include, aquatic facility owners and operators, service providers, consultants, parks & recreation, water parks, manufacturers, academia, associations, builders, community organizations, hotels, government, media, retail, distributors, and health/medical field professionals. “I come back every year because of the quality of the conference,” previous attendee, Sean Sepela, George Mason University stated. “There are so many great people that come here--people with years and years of experience and the people that are coming here for the first time--they all share the same ideas and goals. It’s a place where we all collaborate and I never want to miss this conference.”
WAHC guests were able to attend two keynote addresses and pick from over 50 different seminars that focused on Drowning Prevention, Facility Management, Health Benefits, Health Codes, New Industry Technology, Advanced Chemistry/Disinfection Byproduct Prevention (DBP), Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI) Prevention, and two new WAHC tracks: Market Growth and Water Immersion Works. The debut tracks were designed to encourage the theme of the conference: “Shaping the Future through Aquatics.” Both tracks forged new thinking about how the many niches of the industry can come together and ultimately change the future of health and prosperity around the world.
The Water Immersion Works track was paired with PlayCore’s (WAHC platinum sponsor) new publication which is comprised of 13 vignettes written by noted scholars in the aquatics field. The tracks were based on the vignettes in the new booklet, Water Immersion Works
: Research-Based Health Benefits of Aquatic Immersion and Activity.
The Thursday morning keynote was an entertaining and inspirational presentation by three-time Olympic gold medal winner Rowdy Gaines. The “Ambassador of Swimming” brought one of his medals and posed with attendees after his invigorating speech. Friday morning’s keynote was opened up by the intuitive minds behind Portland, Oregon’s Float On: Ashkahn Jahromi and Graham Talley. Other speakers throughout the two day conference, were some of the best and brightest of the industry from all over world who came together for a global exchange of knowledge. There were speakers from Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, as well as the USA who presented on topics that captivated audiences.
The WAHC doesn’t just offer educational and scientific seminars; many aquatic organizations held committee and council meetings in conjunction with the WAHC. The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) held the first biennial Vote on the Code Conference, which took place October 6-7. “This was the very first Vote on the Code held by the CMAHC and the attendees really drove the discussions," stated Doug Sackett, Executive Director of CMAHC. "We're really pleased with the attendance both at the conference and with the live-streaming. The streaming gave the "virtual" attendees the opportunity to participate in the discussions in real time using live chat for questions and comments on the content being presented. Overall the first Vote on the Code went over excellently,” Sackett concluded.
An NSPF Instructor School was held before the WAHC with 37 students successfully completing the training to become certified NSPF Instructors. This was also the first year that the NSPF offered a Marketing Workshop, with a marketing consultant, to provide tips and tools to support NSPF Instructors. Following the workshop, the NSPF recognized 34 global instructors with awards for outstanding achievements. Additionally, the USA Swimming’s Regional Build a Pool Conference held a meeting immediately after the WAHC.
During an emotional display of appreciation, the NSPF was honored by Angels of America’s Fallen (AOAF) on Friday morning. President and Founder Joe Lewis presented NSPF with a special plaque that included an American flag flown on a combat mission over Afghanistan, AOAF’s “always remember” coin, and a dog tag honoring NSPF as a sponsor. The NSPF became a supporter of the organization at the beginning of 2015 to provide swim lessons for children who have lost a parent in combat. The NSPF’s Step Into Swim campaign funds AOAF, as well as other learn-to-swim programs, which helps provide free swim lessons for children. The NESPA Foundation was moved during Joe Lewis’ presentation at the WAHC and made a generous donation to fund swim programs for children of fallen heroes in the Northeast.
Seminars from two tracks of the WAHC were available as live streams online, and two other tracks were video recorded. All of the recorded tracks were; New Industry Technology, Market Growth, RWI Prevention and PlayCore’s Water Immersion Works. The recordings from all four tracks are available on the NSPF YouTube channel for free.
The WAHC welcome reception also happened to be the NSPF 50th anniversary celebration. The setting in the desert made it a special evening of networking and laughter. There was a DJ, delicious food, a mariachi band, hot air balloon rides, and a special take-away gift. Guests were given beautiful 50th Anniversary stemless drinkware.
This year the WAHC presented an Aquatic Art Gallery within the lobby of the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. The pieces were created by local artists who sought inspiration from beautiful pools, the movement of water, and the human body participating in aquatics. Many pieces of the exhibit will be added to the NSPF collection at their headquarters. A farewell function was also held with door prizes that ranged from a piece of the artwork to free registration for WAHC 2016!
The next WAHC will be held in Nashville, Tennessee at the Sheraton Music City Hotel on October 19-20, 2016. To be guaranteed the lowest registration price for 2016, individuals can register with a $50 deposit before December 31, 2015. The balance will be due when conference registration officially opens on April 1, 2016. Purchase your 2016 WAHC ticket while it’s still fresh in your mind! If you or your organization would like to become a sponsor, speaker, or conduct a meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the World Aquatic Health™ Conference
This leading global aquatic research forum is tailored for people involved in all aspects of aquatics, those affiliated with aquatic facilities, pool and spa industry, service providers, consultants, parks & recreation, water parks, manufacturers, academia, associations, builders, community organizations, distributors, hotels, government, health/medical, retail, and media. Watch the video.
About the National Swimming Pool Foundation®
We believe everything we do helps people live healthier lives. Whether it’s encouraging more aquatic activity, making pools safer, or keeping pools open, we believe we can make a difference. NSPF® offers products and programs that are technically sound, convenient, and beautifully designed. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit located in Colorado Springs, CO., proceeds go to fund research and to help create swimmers. The National Swimming Pool Foundation has been keeping pools safe and open since 1965. Visit www.nspf.org or call 719-540-9119 to learn more.