Category Archives: Programming

A Different Approach to Rehabilitating our Wounded Soldiers

The cost of war is high.  As of April 2012, approximately 633,000 veterans — one out of every four of the 2.3 million who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — have a service-connected disability, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   

Returning US veterans, who have sacrificed so much for their country, are challenged to not only rehabilitate their bodies but their minds and acclimation into a new daily routine.  In 2007 the Department of Veteran Affairs opened the Center for the Intrepid National Armed Forces Rehabilitation Center at the Brooke Army Medical Center, in Fort Sam Houston.  Considered one of the most advanced rehabilitation facility in the world, Center for the Intrepid was designed for military patients and veterans with severe extremity injuries, amputations, and burns the facility’s goal is to rebuild their minds and bodies to regain their pre-injury abilities in a supportive, healing environment.   

Of the 49,000 Iraq and Afghanistan casualties, more than 1,400 have been amputees.  Among the amputees treated at the Center, 17% have returned to active military duty once recovered, with some eventually redeploying, often in support roles, and some returning to active combat. 

Working with the Smith Group, one of the nation’s largest A/E firms, Counsilman Hunsaker was honored to be enlisted as the aquatics specialist on the project.  The aquatics portion of the facility includes a 30 ft. by 50 ft. six lane split pool consisting of multiple water depths and accessible entry points. The intent of this pool was to provide numerous therapy and training programs including kayaking, water basketball and volleyball, water polo, and swimming for returning soldiers. 

A unique feature of the facility is the FlowRider, an indoor simulation of a natural ocean wave used to improve balance, coordination, motion, strength, motivation, and confidence. This feature’s propulsion technology creates an inclusive and exhilarating activity that’s safe and enjoyable way to progress the soldier’s rehabilitation of balance, coordination and strength. posted an inspiring story of the facility’s success with many moving photographs of veterans determined not to be defined by their injuries.  A link to the website can be found here: 

Counsilman Hunsaker supports our troops and wishes all the injured a speedy recovery and safe return. 

Link to additional information on the Center for the Intrepid


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Measuring The Olympic Aquatic Facility Course

If you’ve been watching the Olympic swimming events, you’ve probably been noticing all the exciting finishes and as the athletes win their medals.  What you have likely missed is the tiny target marking on the edge of each lane.  This target is what the surveyor uses to accurately measure the length of the pool each day. 

Evergreen McMinnville on Heading for Continued Success

The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum has successfully added to its 20 year history with a mission “To inspire and educate, to promote and preserve aviation and space history, and to honor the patriotic service of our veterans.”  The significant expansion completed in 2011 included the addition of a unique learning based water park experience.  The Wings and Waves Water Park is buildt on the legacy of the Spruce Goose that became a feature element of the campus in 1993.  Continuing the water and aircraft theme, the new water park features a real 747 aircraft as a slide dispatch tower, space shuttle replicas and other iconic aviation experiences are throughout the park.  Having just completed its first year with outstanding results, the leadership is planning for the future.

The goal is to expand the educational experience that will result in an extended length of stay and continue to develop the Evergreen Campus as a destination.  The result will be an economic engine that positively impacts Yamhill County and Oregon tourism in general.  Future plans may include a Timberline Lodge, Kids Adventure Camp and a Youth Hostel which could potentially be located inside an airplane.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum featuring Wings and Waves is on a heading for tremendous success.  This blog post was based on the recent article published by The Oregonian titled “Spruce Goose plus a water park equals successful attraction for Evergreen in McMinnville

The Pool and Spa Industry can Shine by “Making it Magical!”

About 15 years ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Disney Institute at Walt Disney World in Florida with hundreds of professional pool retailers and service companies. I’m not sure one thing they taught is still true, but I think it is. I’ll find out for sure when I follow up with a neighbor who will work at Disney for the fall semester.

It was my understanding that every job description (EVERY JOB DESCRIPTION!) started with two responsibilities at Disney:

1) Make the experience magical

2) Pick up trash Then

3) was something like “enter accounts receivables in the general ledger…. Or, perform water tests for customers…. Or, clean and treat pools…Or, whatever we all normally think of as the “job description.”

Yes, make it magical and pick up trash. It is a pretty simple idea. It is not always easy to “create magic” since we are not used to thinking from the customer’s perspective and acting on it. Based on this experience, every NSPF job description starts with the “make it magical” requirement. I am not saying we are as good as we should be. We have room to improve. Yet, just imagine if we implemented this philosophy and made it part of our day-to-day practice with every business in our field? Our businesses would be better off and so would the industry as a whole.

What are you doing to make it “magical” for your customers?

The above was posted on the NSPF blog by Tom Lachocki

What Is A Bulkhead?

 A bulkhead is a structure that can separate a pool into different sections.  Typically these structures are moveable in the United States to allow the pool to be adjusted to accommodate different field of play (Yards and Meters).  For example, in a 50 meter pool with 2 movable bulkheads there can be as many as 19 different course configurations that can support swimming, water polo and synchronized swimming.  For NCAA swimming, race courses that utilize a bulkhead as a turning surface must be Certified for each session of a competition.  Courses with two hard walls require certification only once.  In the United States movable bulkheads are typically 4 or 6 feet wide. 


Bulkheads that are designed to move typically rest on the pool gutter.  There are either skid plates or wheels on the bottom of the bulkhead that role along the pool gutter lip.  Many of the bulkheads that are designed to move have the ability to be filled with air to minimize the weight impact when moving the structure.  Some are completely buoyant.  Other manufactures provide a power driven solution.  When the bulkhead reaches its new position it is secured in place with a mechanism to confirm the proper dimension for the activity.  If air was used to move the bulkhead it would be removed to add stability to the structure during programming. 

Switching a pool between long course and short course can be very time consuming.  Nonetheless some facilities switch back and forth daily.  In the United States where 25 yard courses are important many 50 meter pool have a 25 yard with.  This allows switching from 50 meters to 25 yards without relocating bulkhead(s).  Most world markets only swim in a metric format.  In these situations a retractable bulkhead can be used that recesses into the floor.  This allows for the pool to be shorter since the width of the bulkhead does not need to be taken into account in the 50 meter dimension.  This is the solution that is uses at the London Olympic Facility. 

Alternatively, some bulkhead manufacturers can provide passages through bulkhead for the 50 meter lane lines.  With this approach the pool can go from long course to short course without moving lane lines.  

Bulkheads are typically made out of fiberglass or stainless steel.  Issues that may impact material selection may include ability to easily move the bulkhead (weight), durability and maintenance requirements. 

For competition swimming the end of the pool (or bulkhead) must be rigid enough and wide enough to accommodate officials, lap counters, etc. But, for training all you really need is a rigid turning surface.  For this reason a submersible swim wall could be considered.  This approach is very popular in Australia and the benefits are obvious.  First of all the pool can go from long course to short course very quickly by simply raising the swim wall from its resting place on the pool floor. Air is added to the swim wall to raise it and released to lower it.   Another benefit is that swim walls are typically the width of two lanes and can be raised individually in about 1 minute.  This allows a single 50 meter pool to offer short course and long course swimming at the same time!  Some pools in Australia have traditional bulkhead for competition and swim walls for daily training.     

An economical version of a movable swim wall is basically a turning wall that simply attaches to the floating lane lines.  They are very affordable, surprisingly stable and easy to install/remove.       

Thank you for use of the above photos from Stark Industries, Vario Pool, Anti Wave International, Finis USA, Neptune Benson