Since getting to know so many of you as editor of this magazine, I have been unendingly impressed with the level of caring, professionalism and passion you put into your work and the advancement of aquatics. And I’m proud to be a part of it.

Over the past four years, I’ve tried to duplicate that level of dedication in the pages of Aquatics International. There have been times I felt I missed the mark. But then an e-mail would come from an operator telling me how important a particular article was to her and I’d be inspired anew.

That drive to give aquatics professionals what they need to excel and challenge them to do even better has led to some of our most popular — and provocative — articles: The gas mask issue (as it’s come to be known); minority drowning; and, most recently, sexual predators.

In March, our journalistic peers gave us confirmation that at least one of those articles (“Who’s Watching the Children?” from our November/December 2006 issue) not only was the best in the aquatics industry, but also the best among all business-to-business magazines.

For the first time in its history, Aquatics International won a Gold Jesse H. Neal Award, sometimes called the Pulitzer Prize of the business media. To do so, the article had to compete against more than 100 others, survive three screening boards and pass muster from representatives of The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as journalism professors from prestigious schools. I’m most proud of this accomplishment.

I’d like to give the Aquatics International team all the credit for the award. But I know if it weren’t for the extraordinary professionals who comprise aquatics, if it weren’t for the example and inspiration the industry has given us, we may not have pursued the article, or pushed to make it so relevant. So even though the name on the plaque says Aquatics International, the real winner is you.

Anyone who’s been around a newspaper or television lately has heard the word “blog.” It’s short for Web log and the reason it’s created such buzz is because of the way it conveys information.

Bloggers can write traditional columns, but they also can link to ideas or concepts they’re writing about, so readers can learn more. Readers, in turn, can comment on the blog. It’s like a souped-up discussion board for the 21st century. And now, Aquatics International has its very own blog.

I hope you’ll check it out at http://aquaticsintl.blogspot.com/ and join the conversation. I think it’s a great way to share information and get the word out about important issues. But it’s nothing without you. So bookmark the page and get ready to join the blogosphere!

Gary Thill

Aquatics International welcomes feedback from readers. All correspondence may be edited for clarity and space considerations. Please include your complete name and contact information.Letters may be sent by mail to Aquatics International, Attn: Editor, 6222 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90048; by fax to 323.801.4986; or via e-mail to gthill@hanleywood.com.

Credit: Gary Thill