The Association of Aquatic Professionals added itself to the list of organizations taking their conferences online, showing that this trend will carry into 2021.

Every major trade show and conference after March went virtual this year, with many hoping in-person events would come back next year. But AOAP has to convert its February conference to a virtual format after being faced with untenable capacity restrictions, said AOAP Executive Director/CEO Juliene Hefter. Exhibit hall capacities would be capped at 200, just enough to accommodate the average exhibitor staff count, without attendees.

“We were going to do everything we could to hold it in person, being that we were hearing from a lot of people that they are very passionate about aquatics and wanted to be in person,” she said. Once they heard about the capacity limits, “that made our decision for us,” she said.

Attendees at the AOAP conference are a tight-knit, social bunch, so a platform was chosen to allow plenty of networking opportunities, Hefter said. The team is even exploring how to offer the annual Cork Pull and Silent Auction. Swim Series 1 and 2, and Build-a-Pool also will be offered as pre- and post-conference programming.

And look for Aquatics International’s awards session, where we recognize our Best of Aquatics and Power Issue honorees.