When it comes to aquatics education, there’s certainly no shortage of providers. By my count, at least five national conferences offer instruction, and that doesn’t include the many regional gatherings. More than half a dozen agencies offer various certifications and continuing edification. And with the advent of online offerings, the number of learning opportunities seems to grow daily.

So why in the world did we create Aquatics International University? The simple answer is: You asked for it.

You see, I attend most major educational aquatics events. I’ve even helped produce some of them. I always make a point of asking the attending professionals what they feel they’re missing. Where do they think they could use better information?

As editor of this publication, it’s not just making small talk. It’s my job. It forms the basis for what we include in every issue of the magazine and the Aquatics International online network. To my way of thinking, one of the most basic functions we serve is schooling people on the front lines of aquatics: operators, supervisors, lifeguards and service technicians. They’re the ones keeping pools safe, efficient and healthy.

But I’ve been surprised over the past several years at what you’ve been telling me. While you need our articles about generating more revenue or the finer points of water chemistry, you also need to understand how a pump works. How do you know if it’s time to replace a heater? How long should plaster last? How do sand filters really work?

They’re basic questions, and somewhere along the way, they never got answered. We formed Aquatics International University to change that. As you read through the course materials, you may be amazed at what you think you know vs. what you actually know. I was. Editing the pages of AIU taught me as much about aquatics as I’ve learned in the six years I’ve been editing this publication.

Take a look at our professors, and it’s easy to understand why. From Kent Williams, author of the Aquatics Facility Handbook, to Alison Osinski, ubiquitous aquatics consultant and expert, we’ve assembled the industry’s best and brightest minds into our faculty. They gave generously of their time and talent to share what they know.

Now it’s your turn. Whether you’re a chlorine-soaked veteran or a fresh-faced recruit, I urge you to read and absorb the information we’ve assembled. Keep it on hand and tell your peers about it. Then go online and test your knowledge. If you score high enough, you’ll earn an AIU diploma — a certificate of completion you can add to your personnel records.

But more than a piece of paper, the AIU diploma demonstrates your commitment to aquatics and your understanding that on the most basic level, it’s education for life.