As a 40-year aquatics veteran and a former swim coach, Louis “Sam” Fruia never heard of a recreational water illness until he attended a conference that discussed the topic. “I was literally shocked into embarrassment,” he says. “I always considered myself well-educated and strived to be around individuals in my association. RWIs never came up on the radar screen.”
When he went back to his training manuals for coaches, he was “horrified even more that nothing in there alerted coaches about RWIs.” And so he decided to bring the message to them.
The 50-year-old aquatics administrator for the Brownsville Independent School District in Brownsville, Texas, was a perfect candidate for the job. The former NCAA Division I and high school swim coach currently serves on the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals’ Service Council’s education committee, the Hot Tub Task Force and the Water Quality Committee. He’s made several presentations to the service and hot tub committees, as well as the Recreational Water Committee. Fruia is also a CPO and APO instructor, which he says will give him more voice with RWI awareness. Establishing connections with the American Swim Coaches Association to teach them what he didn’t know as a coach is another method he’s using to spread the word.
He’s already run a workshop at the International Pool & Spa Expo and is giving a presentation on RWIs with the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance this month in Chattanooga, Tenn. A paper he wrote is on the ASCA Web site.
In his own community, he gives presentations to the school district and administration, and requires all swimmers, including visiting teams, to shower before entering the pool.
He runs AFO, CPO and continuing education classes attended by much of the community.
He’s pushing this effort, he says, because he owes it to the aquatics community. “I feel like it is important for me to give back to the sport and to the industry that has been so good to me.