“I was struck by the high level of interest and discussion among the attendees and I had some great networking opportunities.”


“Great conference! I have been to all but one and have come away from each impressed and more educated.”


“The lunch roundtable was a great idea and a way to interact informally with others.”


“This was an exceptionally good conference - rich in quality material important to the industry.”


“The best conference in our field hands down!”


Ninth World Aquatic HealthConference Delivers On WaterWisdom


Event highlighted research, including health benefits of water exercise,

making pools & spas safer, and impact of learn-to-swim initiatives.


                                        Mark your 2013 calendar: October 16-18, Indianapolis, Indiana                    


Colorado Springs, Colorado, November 28, 2012 — The ninth World Aquatic Health Conference (WAHC) and Aquatic Physical Therapy Summit was held for the first time in Norfolk, Virginia, and organizers report a strong attendance, with 412 attendees, holding close to last year’s record-setting event in Seattle. The World Aquatic Health Conference is recognized as the leading global aquatic research forum. “This year’s conference was a great success, attracting many return attendees as well as new people and organizations,” said Michelle Kavanaugh, Conference Manager for the National Swimming Pool Foundation®.  “The feedback has been very positive, with nearly 80 percent indicating they will join us in Indianapolis in 2013.”


Global water recreation and therapy experts gathered for the annual event, which highlighted research, including health benefits of water exercise, making pools and spas safer, and impact of learn-to-swim initiatives. Learning from the best and brightest, attendees listened to two keynotes and selected from 41 high-level sessions in five diverse topic areas, attended lunch roundtables, and gathered around the scientific poster session. “Our live-streaming of all five seminars on the Model Aquatic Health Code was a huge success, so we have plans to expand live-streaming offerings for 2013 in Indianapolis,” explained Kavanaugh. “Also, the 41 seminars are now available on-demand at http://nspf.netro.ca/Products.aspx.”


The event delivered the WaterWidsom promised, through practical science, diversity of thinking and a breadth of knowledge, all with an emphasis on useful application. Surveyed respondents say they attend year after year because of the opportunity to increase their knowledge, the wide array of seminar choices and plenty of time for networking.


Industry, government, academic and health leaders traveled from 41 states and 8 countries. International attendees came from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the Ukraine. Of the 412 registrants, 46% noted they were high-level decision makers including CEO, president, owner, vice president, or director, which is up from previous years. Industry segments represented were from aquatic facilities, service providers, consultants, parks & recreation, water parks, manufacturers, academia, associations, builders, community organizations, distributors, hotels, government, health/medical, retail, and media.


In its third year of collaborating with the World Aquatic Health Conference, the Aquatic Physical Therapy Section of APTA offers its membership a unique learning opportunity and a means of professional networking.

“Nothing can mimic exercising in the water and this conference gives our members an excellent opportunity to hear and share the latest research. Also, this conference allows great networking with a diverse group of people that work in the aquatic environment,” says Diane Platz, PT, Vice President of the Aquatic Physical Therapy Section of APTA. “This sharing of ideas and professional knowledge will strengthen the future for all of us in Aquatics,” she concludes.

The two keynotes reflected the conference theme and illustrated how gaining WaterWisdom is not just about learning, but applying the knowledge to effect positive change. “What we do can literally change people’s lives,” emphasized Bryon Embry, world-renowned motivational speaker, who showed attendees how the passion for more swimmers will result in a healthier society, and a more promising future for our industry. Embry and Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D, CEO of National Swimming Pool Foundation, keynoted both the conference and the inaugural                     Step Into Swim Congress one day prior to the conference.


Conference Highlights

  • Julie Gilchrist, MD, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), shared current drowning and chronic illness statistics and discussed how critical swimming lessons are to reduce drowning and diseases.
  • Michael Beach, PhD, and Robert Blake, MPH, REHS, (CDC), discussed the Model Aquatic Health Code. A complete day, the Science Behind the MAHC, was live-streamed to people who wanted to be up on the latest information.
  • Kelly Reynolds, PhD, University of Arizona, and NSPF 2012 grant recipient discussed her funded project “Standardization of Health Impact Studies Due to Aquatic Environmental Exposures” and outcomes.
  • Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH (CDC) gave an update on Cryptosporidium prevention efforts.
  • Beth Ennis, PT, EdD, PCS, ATP, All About Families, PLLC, presented on aquatic therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders, and how hydrostatic pressure improves cognitive and behavioral functions.
  • Adelaida Maria Castro-Sanchez, PhD, Universidad de Almeria, Spain, shared aquatic solutions for managing pain in persons with multiple sclerosis.
  • Hirofumi Tanaka, PhD, University of Austin, shared his latest knowledge about swimming and cardiovascular health. Dr. Tanaka is a recipient of a 2013 grant from NSPF.
  • Paul Chantler, PhD, West Virginia University, presented his review of land vs. water-based exercise on arterial health in diseased populations. Dr. Chantler is also a 2013 grant recipient.  
  • Lifeguarding was discussed in three different presentations: Two were presented by Robert Ogoreuc, ME, Slippery Rock State University on how to properly scan, target, assess, rescue and remove; and communications with fire, EMS, and police before an incident; Roy Fielding, MA, NSPF-I, WSIT, LGIT, University of NC – Charlotte, reviewed 4 years of data of the lifeguard rescue reporting system of the US & Canada.
  • Connie Sue Centrella, MA, Team Horner, focused on how to make a facility more sustainable.  
  • Dr. James Amburgey, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, discussed his evaluation of circulation systems and the influence on water quality.
  • Dr. Chip Blatchley III, PhD, Purdue University, reviewed UV-based treatment on water and air chemistry in indoor pools.
  • Presenters from American Red Cross, USA Swimming, US Swim School Association, the JCC Association, 21st Swimming Lessons and the ZAC Foundation discussed saving lives through swimming lessons.



  • Step Into Swim Inaugural Congress featured four organizations who presented their plan to potential donors to explain how they will help meet the demand to create 1 million more swimmers in the next 10 years.
  • Three leading organizations, USA Swimming, Aquatic Exercise Association, and Genesis 3 Design Group, partnered with the World Aquatic Health Conference to host pre- and post- conference events.
  • Six leadership meetings were held: the fifth annual National Swimming Pool Environmental Health Leader Meeting, APTA Aquatic Summit Annual Board meeting, sixth annual International NSPF Instructor Meeting, National Swimming Pool Foundation Instructor Course, CPO® Certification Course, and the CDC Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) Steering Committee.

Event organizers extended tabletop displays at no charge to non-profit organizations and conference sponsors. Thirteen organizations were available to meet attendees and the media at their tabletops during conference breaks: American Physical Therapy Association, American Red Cross, Centers for Disease Control, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 21st Century Swimming Lessons (Conquer Fear), Hayward Commercial, Hydro Institute, Inc., International Swimming Hall of Fame, Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation, NSF International, Swim for Life Foundation, USA Swimming, and The Zac Foundation.


The World Aquatic Health Conference and APTA appreciate the twelve sponsoring organizations who invested to show their support and helped elevate the science in our field:  Aquasalt, LLC, Aquatics International, Colorado Time Systems, Counsilman-Hunsaker, Delta UV, DuPont, Engineered Treatment Systems (ETS), Hayward Commercial, Hydro-Fit, Inc., NSF International, Pentair Water Commercial Pool, and Water Safety Products.  


“The foundation of our field is science. Leaders are attracted to the World Aquatic Health Conference to see what wisdom is being built on our foundation,” explained Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation. “This scientific conference is the candle that illuminates the wise way forward,” he concluded.


WAHC On-Demand

The seminars from the 2012 World Aquatic Health Conference are available on-demand and can be accessed at http://nspf.netro.ca/Products.aspx. Many organizations schedule a meeting with team members to watch a seminar together. The availability of the seminars online, on-demand at low cost, is an attractive solution for those who were unable to attend or wish to see seminars than ran congruently. The complete library of past seminars may be found at www.nspf.org and click on online training.


WAHC 2013 Indianapolis

The tenth annual World Aquatic Health Conference is scheduled for October 16-18, 2013 in Indianapolis, at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. Send an email to conference@nspf.org to sign up for more information when it is available. “We are encouraging companies and organizations to contact us to schedule their meetings in conjunction with the 2013 World Aquatic Health Conference,” added Kavanaugh.



About the Aquatic Physical Therapy Section, APTA — The Aquatic Physical Therapy Section, representing more than 1,000 members, is a component of the American Physical Therapy Association, which represents more than 74,000 members.  The section’s mission is to develop, promote, and advocate for evidence-based aquatic physical therapy as an effective intervention to enhance movement. Visit www.aquaticpt.org.


About NSPF®  — 

The National Swimming Pool Foundation® is a non-profit organization established in 1965, dedicated to improving public health worldwide and is the leading educator of aquatic facility operators and pool and spa professionals, and the chief philanthropic research sponsor in the aquatics field. The foundation has donated over $4 million since 2003 to fund grants to prevent illness, injury, and drowning, and to demonstrate the health benefits of aquatic activity. In 2012, the Foundation launched the Step Into Swim Campaign, a 10-year initiative to create 1 million more swimmers. Teaching people to swim is an investment in the next generation. The campaign raises funds that are directly given to leading learn-to-swim organizations. Visit www.nspf.org and www.StepIntoSwim.org to learn more and to donate.



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