The aquatics experts who share their insight on AI Connect (the Aquatics International social network) are a knowledgeable bunch. Over the past twelve months they have commented on everything from in-service training to current events. Here are 5 lessons they taught us this year.

It’s time to get serious about science.  Over the past decade research has begun to play an important role in the aquatics industry. Tom Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colo., offered up his take on several recent findings. One of his big takeaways: “When a research article is mentioned in the forest (aquatics industry), let's make sure we hear it and spread the word. The alternative is that the world will not care about what we hold so dear – the positive impact water can have on so many lives.”

The mind (of a Lifeguard) is a terrible thing to waste.  Dr. Tom Griffiths, founder of State College, Pa.-based Aquatic Safety Research Group, and Blogger Mario Vittone, both commented on lifeguard vigilance. Griffiths raised questions about mindfulness, and situational awareness at aquatics facilities. Vittone discussed the importance of managing and training guards in a way that fosters vigilance and allows them to focus on paying attention.

Don’t become so focused on training your staff that you lose sight of when you need training.  In another post, Lachocki commented on the value of public speaking and leadership skills. Jim Wheeler, leisure and aquatic services manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and owner, Total Aquatic Management, also shared his take on the importance of ongoing education in his post, “When was the Last Time You Had Some Training?”

Drills come in all shapes and sizes.  Pete DeQuincy, aquatic supervisor for the East Bay Regional Park District, Oakland, Calif., posted drills on nearly half-a-dozen skills. Some of those include: airway management, spinal management, zero-depth entry,  and  rescue board drills for a flatwater facility.

Never lose your pool passion.  If you’re like many in the industry, your love of the water is what keeps you doing what you do. Laurie Batter, a longtime industry public relations leader and founder of BatterUp! Productions, wrote about the love that keeps her in the business. Her story – and the stories of so many others like her – is worth remembering when you need extra inspiration to get you through a difficult situation.

Don’t miss out! Follow our bloggers in 2014 on AI Connect.