Sometimes it takes awhile for things to sink in. Our Dream Designs showcase is a case in point. This is the fifth year we’ve featured the most innovative, exciting projects in the industry and, as always, they celebrate the best and brightest in aquatics. But for too long, we have missed one of the key points of Dream Designs: They are a team effort.

This year, we’ve remedied that oversight. With each design, you’ll notice a box called “Project Team.” This is our acknowledgment and effort to say that while one firm submitted the project, it had many contributors. That team effort extends into our “Project Supplier” box. Indeed, often it’s team effort that produces the most spectacular results.

Of course, that truism can — and should — be applied across the whole of aquatics. Sadly, teamwork among industry professionals and groups is hard to find. As one small example, consider competitive aquatics. Any operator who manages swim meets knows that such events often trigger RWI outbreaks. True, the bather load is part of the reason.

But another cause is indifference, even ignorance, to the causes of RWIs. Who hasn’t heard tales of swim coaches forcing their athletes to compete even if they have diarrhea? Michael Phelps himself admits to peeing in the pool. I bring this up not to shame swim coaches or athletes, but rather to illuminate what happens when aquatics professionals don’t work as a team across disciplines.

For too long, the aquatics industry has been fragmented into competing special interests: competition, nonprofit, private, public, beach and the like. Each of these groups imagines, or tries to create, their own fiefdoms. At best, it is indifference, or ignorance. At worst, it is avarice or aggressiveness.

But starting today, you have an opportunity to help change this dynamic and begin creating a new kind of teamwork in aquatics with our new social network Website called AI Connect. You can join now at

Just as the name suggests, AI Connect is all about making connections across industry disciplines and interests. It’s also about giving a voice to the many aquatics professionals who work in solitude, save for the one conference or educational event their budgets allow them to attend each year. For most, this is the only opportunity to network and compare notes with peers. Thanks to the magic of technology and the ease of social networking, it no longer has to be that way. 

So log onto our Web site. Take a few moments to become a member and then start making it yours. Create groups that you think would be interesting. Start forum discussions on topics you think aquatics professionals should be discussing. Blog about your opinions, ideas and pet peeves. That’s what will make AI Connect more than just another Website.

I also hope you’ll share your ideas and feedback about what you’d like to see on the site that’s not there currently. We’ll do our best to make sure it gets added, especially as it relates to the ever-present need for clear, accurate education.

Together, we can create a true aquatics dream team.