The email came with an air of desperation, but also, it turns out, the seeds of inspiration.

Essentially, it was an SOS. The writer’s aquatics program was going to be shut down unless he could justify why it should be kept. Did I have any information that could help him save his program?

The message set me back on two levels. First, I knew that many professionals were struggling with tighter budgets, but this was the most disturbing evidence of how dire the situation had become. Second, I was surprised that the question of how to justify aquatics even had to be asked.

Didn’t he know about the amazing health benefits just being in the water produces? Wasn’t he aware of the economic and social boon aquatics facilities offer to communities? And what about the incredible life skill of simply knowing how to swim? How do you put a price on that?

Then I realized something important. Like a man with a gun to his head, he needed help and I had information that maybe, just maybe, could help save him. Chances are, you need that same information, that same help. That was the moment when this year’s Aquatics International virtual conference was born: “The Aquatics X Factor — Unleash the Power of Water.”

Just as the name suggests, the conference is all about arming aquatics professionals with the information they need to defend facilities against budget-threatening cuts and closures. And the “power of water” in the title is no mere hyperbole. From practical health benefits to less tangible quality of life values, there are plenty of justifications for why aquatics should get a fair slice of the financial pie. (To learn more about the topics up for discussion, see our extensive article on The Aquatics X Factor.)

In fact, we’ve got seven seminars all geared toward making that case. As always, the seminars will be available on demand so you can work them into your busy schedule, rather than the other way around. This year, instead of just being available for six months on demand, the seminars will be on demand for a full year. Also new this year are two live seminars — one on Nov. 8 and the other Nov. 9 — which allow for a question and answer period.

And, as always, all the seminars are absolutely free, a price even the most stringent bean counter couldn’t fault.

We want you to attend these seminars. We want to give you the best data we can, so you can to defend your facility. Ultimately, we want you to have all the information you need to succeed. Information is power, yes. But the most powerful Aquatics X Factor is you.