Category Archives: Industry Mentions

London Olympics to showcase strength of aquatic sports

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu interview

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu believes the London 2012 Olympic Games will demonstrate to the sporting world the passion, talent, excitement and innovation of the burgeoning aquatics sector.

As one of the driving forces of the Olympic Movement, aquatics have unsurprisingly been amongst the hottest tickets at the Games. Swimming and diving competitions were among the very first sporting events to sell out, while such was the demand for synchronised swimming that London 2012 had to offer 10,000 ticket-holders an alternative sporting event.

Marculescu was taken aback by the level of public interest when he attended the Olympic test events at London’s new state-of-the-art 17,000-seat Aquatics Centre, and he expects more of the same when the Games get underway later this month.

“We are one of the pillars of the Olympic Games and in London it will be one of the best ever events,” Marculescu said.

“All 15 days of the competition have sold out for aquatic sports though, so we could do with double the number of seats in the Aquatics Centre!

“At the test events the enthusiasm from the public was fantastic. I have been in my position for seven editions of the Olympics, and I can honestly say the enthusiasm for the London Games is special. We are delighted to be a part of that by bringing as usual an additional value to the Games.”

Marculescu is relishing the prospect of the pool’s top competitors shining at the iconic Aquatics Centre, which at a height of 150ft is one of most striking new sporting venues on the London skyline.

“The most important thing is to have stars, and the interest is there because of them,” he said. “In London I’m sure the starts of swimming likes of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and others will excite the crowds, and then of course in diving you have guys like Tom Daley, who are fantastic.

“Interest in the aquatics events at the Olympics, and the FINA World Championships, is definitely increasing, and we are getting stronger around the world.”

Next year’s FINA World Championships will take place in the 1992 Summer Olympics host city of Barcelona in Spain, and the 2015 Championships will be staged in Kazan, Russia.

Marculescu, and FINA, are working towards an initiative to engage the wider public in an innovative new way at the Kazan event in three years’ time.

“We are looking to enlarge the FINA World Championships by including the FINA World Masters Championships, such as mass participation event,” he said. “In Kazan, it would be great to have all together more than 12,000 – 13,000 participants participating in all five FINA aquatic disciplines. Such change in dimension of the FINA major event would for sure bring an important economic impact to the host city and promote our sport even further.”

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Ithaca College Athletic and Events Center Designed To Meet LEED Gold Certification

The Ithaca College AEC which includes a 47,000 sq. ft. aquatics pavilion designed by Moody Nolan with Counsilman-Hunsaker has been designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification.  Within the aquatics facility is a 50 meter by 25 yard pool with movable floor providing the flexibility of shallow and deep water race courses, two movable bulkheads, 1-meter and 3-meter springboard diving, water polo and rowing stations,  a spacious whirlpool spa and seating for 950 spectators.  The mechanical and chemical treatment systems for the 50 meter pool and whirlpool spa provide LEED credits toward energy and water conservation as well as improving indoor air quality. 

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National Swimming Pool Foundation Headquarters & Operations

As most of you know, Colorado Springs experienced the huge Waldo Canyon Fire this past week. The NSPF Headquarters and all systems have been shifted to an alternate location so we can continue to effectively serve you. We are so thankful for all the firefighters who have chosen to leave their homes to try and save our homes. The NSPF Headquarters is ok, but remains in a mandatory evacuation zone since it is in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood that lost hundreds of homes. Also, two of our team members remain in an evacuation zone. It is not clear how long it will be before we get to move back to our Headquarters.

To make sure we effectively serve you, please take the following steps:

  1. Check all orders placed since Friday, June 22nd. If you have not received a verification of any order, please call us on Monday, July 2, so we can verify that we processed your order. Our phone number remains the same at 719-540-9119.
  2. Please do not place orders via fax until we move back to our Headquarters. We have a glitch and fear that we will not receive fax orders. Please call us or place your order online.
  3. As we transitioned our email system, there is a slight risk that an email was lost. Our email is working fine now so if you wish to resend any email sent last week, we would appreciate it. We will verify with you if orders were processed.

Thank you for the trust you place in us and in NSPF materials. We hope our response to this disaster did not negatively impact you in any way. But, to be safe, let’s double check and make sure you are getting what you need from us.

Most Respectfully,



Mayor Bloomberg Dives In With The Opening Of McCarren Pool

Yesterday NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed Brooklyn locals to the Grand Re-Opening of McCarren Park Pool.  Originally opened in 1936, this monumental pool measuring 100-meters by 50-meters served the borough until 1984 when it finally closed its doors.

After years of neglect, the pool found new life as a venue for non-aquatic activities including dodge ball tournaments, roller hockey, music concerts (Sonic Youth and the Beastie Boys to name a couple) and home to the Williamsburg Film Festival.

In 2008 the City approved plans to restore the aquatic center to its former glory.  Working with Roger Marvel Architects, Counsilman Hunsaker retained much of the pool’s original shape while adding contemporary design elements to bring the facility into modern times.  Opening in time for the upcoming holiday, and with the City’s summer heat already in the mid 90’s, it is no wonder the line into the aquatic center wrapped around the block on opening.

Open to the public through Labor Day, grab your suit and head over.

For detailed information, be sure to visit the facilities’ Official Website

News Report




Does the Commercial Swimming Pool Industry Have a Voice?

I was recently asked by a friend and leader in the aquatic industry to comment on the Pool Genius Network blog titled “Fix The APSP”.  The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP – formerly NSPI) has a long history of supporting the swimming pool industry.  Over the years it has had to adjust and adapt to changing markets and organizational realities.  From a 30,000 foot view, this organization has contributed greatly to the industry and the support of many entrepreneurial efforts of individuals entering the business.  The thousands of industry professionals that have invested their time in achievement of these goals are greatly appreciated and I would like to say “Thank You!”

Tomorrow is a new day with new challenges and I question whether the industry and APSP are prepared.  My industry perspective indicates that we will likely see more regulations, an increase in federal mandates and greater legal challenges.  All of these initiatives may result in positive or negative change.  The key to success is making knowledgeable decision with accurate and timely information that provides the best value to the user, operator, owner, and public health.  Based on the experience of the recent VGB and ADA federal mandates, I do not believe our industry is well represented to participate in, much less lead, a knowledgeable decision making effort for the future of aquatics.

Rightly or wrongly today’s APSP is seen and a trade association with a strong foundation in residential pools.  Recently, it has been unsuccessful in presenting the facts with integrity to effect positive change.  I remember Carvin DiGiovanni reporting in 2007 to the APSP Commercial Council in Washington DC about the great accomplishments of the new VGB legislation that was just passed and the APSP’s leadership role.  What alarmed me was the lack of any communication with the Council that was directly involved in the commercial portion of the industry of which this legislation would impact.  This lack of honest transparency has been damaging to the industry.  The APSP needs to focus on what is best for the industry instead of following the crowd to be associated with the prevailing winds of change.  What our industry requires is leadership with vision and purpose, not a meandering behemoth looking for the next public relations opportunity. 

In fairness to the APSP, since it reorganization in 2003 it appears their primary goal has been trying to survive.  In July 2004, the APSP reported total assets of $19.0 million, in its most recent reporting it stated total assets in June of 2010 of $9.6 million.  This is roughly a 50% decrease in six years.  In addition, the 2010 tax return reported a loss of $616,000 from operations.  How has the industry benefited from this $9.4 million investment by the APSP?  It is understandable for an organization to become myopic when under significant stress; however, this does not help our industry.  Can these aquatic industry resources be used more wisely with greater positive impact?

So in answering the question “How To Fix The APSP?” the following are my suggested action items:

  1. Develop a fiscally sustainable business model.  It appears from my perspective that the loss of the NSPI tradeshow has financially crippled the APSP and todays primary sources of revenue are membership and selling of standards.  Given the recent financial trends reported by the Association this model does not appear to be working.  Is the current direction a long and slow death?
  2. Do No Harm.  For whatever reason, the APSP has attempted to be the most dominate voice at the federal level.  The harm is that this voice is not always the most knowledgeable on needed change or understanding potential unintended consequences.  In my opinion, the poor execution of this self-appointed industry voice has caused tremendous harm to our collective integrity and financial damage to the industry as a whole.  Based on current performance, no voice would be better than this voice. 
  3. Understand the difference between the needs of residential and commercial aquatics.  Whether it is drain grates, pool barriers / access or the skill involved in creating an aquatic experience, there are tremendous differences in uses, needs, designs, construction techniques and operational requirements for these different markets.  The APSP one size fits all approach has caused significant difficulties in the industry.  In my opinion, the APSP focuses on the residential and retail portion of the industry while trying to benefit from its historical role regarding industry standards.  The frenetic approach to a holistic industry solution for standards has been quite alarming.  The most recent example is the May 25, 2012 press release announcing a memorandum of understanding trying to explain the disjointed role of the APSP in their standard pursuit. 
  4. “The Voice”  The 2004 APSP Strategic Plan had as one of their objectives to “Increase awareness of the association’s position as “The Voice” for the pool and spa/hot tub industries.  I question whether it is prudent or possible to effectively represent so many different facets of such a large and complex industry.  With over sixty industry organizations – is it not just a little arrogant to be “The Voice” without asking first?    It appears that in an attempt to do it all, nothing is getting done well.

So, as the call for a Fix is screamed from the aquatic industry rooftops, focus on sound a sustainable financial model the places quality above quantity.