Gary Thill's Blog (22)


Industry trade shows serve a good purpose. Anyone who attends typically comes away feeling like they've been bettered by the personal interaction and camaraderie that shows engender. This week's AOAP show is a good example. By all accounts it was a great sophomore effort. To put it simply: Everyone loves a good show.

But what happens when there's not just one show, but four, or eight or 12 or 24? That's the reality for a…


Added by Gary Thill on March 7, 2013 at 3:41pm — 5 Comments

Look Who's NOT Talking

The contrast could not have been more stark. I was standing at the Pool & Spa News booth at the International Expo talking to an icon of the…


Added by Gary Thill on February 26, 2013 at 4:31pm — 2 Comments

Raise Your Voice

When I announced my departure as editor of Aquatics International, I assured everyone that in my new role, I'd continue to to have a voice for the industry. This blog is a fulfillment of that promise. Starting today, I'll be blogging weekly on AI Connect each Monday. I hope you'll bookmark my blog and continue checking back for my latest posts. But I know everyone's busy. So to make sure you don't miss this blog and select posts from industry thought leaders such as Tom Griffiths, we'll be…


Added by Gary Thill on January 28, 2013 at 8:00am — No Comments

The Winner of the Fix My Facility Contest Is...

AQUATICS INTERNATIONAL received some great submissions from industry members who would love to give their facilities a renovation fix. While the judging was difficult, ultimately, Richelle Harvey with the Aqua…


Added by Gary Thill on November 1, 2012 at 9:31am — No Comments

Goodbye, Hello

I’ve written a lot of columns in my nearly 10 years as editor of Aquatics International. But this one is the most difficult. This is the one where I say goodbye to a magazine I’ve come to love like a child and a group of professionals I’ve gotten to know like family.

Our November/December issue of the magazine is the last in which my name will appear on the masthead as editor. And as with so many good byes, this one is bittersweet. The bitter part is knowing how much I will miss…


Added by Gary Thill on October 29, 2012 at 3:46pm — 3 Comments

The Recall: Really!?!


That’s the name of a popular “Saturday Night Live” skit in which “anchor” Seth Meyers reports the latest news of the day with incredulous skepticism and disgust. The piece plays on the old comedy maxim that things are funny because they’re true. But it turns that truism on its ear by simply using the news itself as the butt of the joke.

Anyone who’s seen the latest Anthony Weiner headlines (Weiner — Really!?! ) can see why it works so well. You just reach…


Added by Gary Thill on June 23, 2011 at 2:46pm — 3 Comments

Floods Devastate Aussie Swim School

Very sad to see the destruction these floods have wrought.  Just got this message from Laurie Batter relaying the devastation at one swim school in the words of the school's owner, Alan Lewis:

How heartbreaking is this?

This has been my most important project in the last half year.

This school belongs to the CEO of Swim Australia.

I was his consult…


Added by Gary Thill on January 14, 2011 at 4:00pm — No Comments

2011 Aquatic Predictions

New Year prognostications aren’t for the timid. Invariably, the predictor ends up looking ridiculous when the forecasts don’t come to pass. No matter how much experience or inside information you might have, the world has a way of surprising you. Put another way, want to make God laugh? Make a plan.

All those caveats aside, here are five aquatic…

Added by Gary Thill on January 5, 2011 at 10:21am — 1 Comment

Blaming the Victim

Some readers may have taken one look at our provocative November/December cover and wondered, “Why must we dwell on such an unpleasant topic as sex abuse? Why do we want to draw attention to an issue that has already given aquatics a black eye?” I can answer all of those questions with two words: the victims.

Those are the brave young women who came forward to expose the sex abuse scandal brewing at USA Swimming for more than three decades — as well as any who remained silent. If this…

Added by Gary Thill on November 1, 2010 at 2:43pm — 3 Comments

MAHC: VGB x 1,000?

For the aquatics industry, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act confirmed the worst fears about government regulation: it was carelessly crafted, poorly communicated, arbitrarily enforced and blindly implemented. In the name of aquatic safety, it actually shut facilities down.

More than two years after its implementation, just the acronym, VGB, is enough to get a rise out of many aquatic professionals.

Little wonder that the latest federal effort is getting a… Continue

Added by Gary Thill on September 28, 2010 at 2:10pm — No Comments

Community Guidelines Reminder

First I want to thank all of you for joining AI Connect. In a little more than a year, you've made this a thriving community — one where aquatics professionals can get ideas, insights and inspiration from each other. I'm proud to be a part of industry that boasts such passionate professionals.
We formed AI Connect to give all of you a way to connect with each other outside of the traditional conferences and trade shows many of you can longer afford to attend. As such I believe…

Added by Gary Thill on July 16, 2010 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Death Sentences

What is a life worth? I’ve asked this question in various ways over the years, but it’s always been more of a rhetorical question than something that can be answered. But as the nation stumbles through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, that is no longer just a question. In Michigan, a life is worth $20,000. In California, it’s worth $50,000.

Those are the savings that cities and governments are making to cut lifeguards in those two states. And in making those… Continue

Added by Gary Thill on May 6, 2010 at 3:08pm — No Comments

The Green Gap

I’m contemplating two April events that seemingly have nothing to do with each other, but are actually inexorably linked: the annual Aquatics International salary survey and Earth Day.…


Added by Gary Thill on March 30, 2010 at 2:29pm — No Comments

Lifesaving Doesn't End at the Water's Edge

Over the years, I’ve railed against everything from lifeguard pay to lack of industry cooperation. And I’vegotten some flack from people who say I’m too negative. Why can’t I ever talk about the positive things going on in the industry?

Well, for anyone who ever thought that, this one’s for you. Today, I’m brimming with pride for the aquatics industry, and I have nothing but praise to heap upon it.

If I sound uncharacteristically positive, and even Pollyanna-ish, that’s because… Continue

Added by Gary Thill on March 1, 2010 at 11:31am — No Comments

Who's Your Inspiration?

All over the world, aquatics professionals labor in obscurity fighting the good fight for their local pool, inspiring yet another generation of lifeguards to take to the stands with vigilance, or devising ingenious designs to make facilities more safe, fun and healthy.

It is these I want to recognize today. And it’s all thanks to a reader, who reminded me of something very important: Aquatics is a profession that’s built on mentors. Think about it. People certainly don’t get into… Continue

Added by Gary Thill on February 3, 2010 at 9:33am — 4 Comments

The Future is Here

When I was growing up, I used to love pouring through the pages of Popular Science. The covers would always get me with provocative headlines: “Flying Cars in Your Lifetime,” or “Humans Living on Moon by Year 2000.” The articles themselves always quoted experts who assured me that the technology was already in place to make whatever predictions the article claimed happen. There were even cool illustrations showing prototypes of the flying car or homes on the moon. I couldn’t wait for the… Continue

Added by Gary Thill on January 8, 2010 at 1:56pm — No Comments

Setting the Record Straight on Rip Currents

Editor's note: This is a letter to the editor from B. Chris Brewster, president of United States Lifesaving Association, in response to an column about rip currents in the June 2009 issue of Aquatics International.

It’s good to see Aquatics International run an article regarding rip currents ("Getting Current," June 2009), which United States Lifesaving Association statistics attribute to over 80%… Continue

Added by Gary Thill on October 20, 2009 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

The Mother of Reinvention

People of a certain age will get a jolt of nostalgia when they read these next three words: School House Rock. That was the name of the educational musical cartoon shorts that ran on Saturday mornings between “Scooby-Doo” and “Bugs Bunny.” There was “Conjunction Junction,” “I’m Just a Bill,” and the one I’m thinking about today, “Mother Necessity.”

In that funky ‘70s musical style, “Mother Necessity” explained… Continue

Added by Gary Thill on September 21, 2009 at 10:22am — No Comments

Don't let Swim Club's Blatant Racism Stand!

Too often when bad things happen, good people stand by and don't know what to do. I can't stand by what happened in Philadelphia over the past few days, and I hope you'll help me change it.

What happened is that a private swim club refused service to a summer camp group of black children because they were "changing the complexion" of the pool. This happened… Continue

Added by Gary Thill on July 8, 2009 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments

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