Given his years of industry experience, you might think Kent Williams, executive director of the Professional Pool Operators of America in Newcastle, Calif., has seen it all when it comes to aquatics. You would be wrong.

"This is the first time in my life that I've ever noticed an economic downturn affecting the aquatics industry," he says.

Just what is he noticing? From a pump room standpoint, he expects that tighter budgets will mean operators will be looking for less expensive product options and making every effort to fix old equipment rather than buying new. As an educator, the fact that he's begun seeing fewer people at certification classes worries him.

"Even in tough times, education is important. That's not an area to skimp on," Williams says.

For now, he prefers to stay optimistic. "I'm holding onto hope that it will all bounce back before anything changes too drastically," he says. "[Whatever happens], swimming and aquatic activities will survive, given the recreational and health benefits."