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In a bid to foster new and ongoing research on the health benefits and effects of aquatics, Washington State University researchers have announced the creation of the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute. The new facility, funded through a $1 million grant from the National Swimming Pool Foundation, is set to be a leading center for aquatic health research.

NASMI Director Bruce Becker, one of the premier researchers on aquatic fitness, said he?s excited about the possibilities for the new institute. Dr. Becker hopes it will help lay the foundation for understanding the benefits of aquatic therapy and exercise.

?[Other than what we?ve accomplished], there?s really no information on the potential health benefits of aquatics,? he said.

NSPF has been an active contributor to Becker?s research for approximately five years and in the past four years, has given more than $1.5 million to institutions of higher learning.

?Research in aquatics has been a dry basin, WSU is the key to open the flood gate,? said Thomas M. Lachocki, NSPF?s CEO.

The funding will go mainly toward adding graduate-level research staff and a research coordinator, according to Becker.

?This was intended as an infrastructure grant,? he said. ?We?re hoping to have the university match the donation, and we?re waiting on approval for larger space.? He added that the new staff should be in place by later this year.