Becoming an Aquatic Influencer: Lessons Learned from COVID-19

Authored by Sue & Mick Nelson


You have completed your water exercise training and are confident about what you want to achieve with your clients in the water. Walking on the pool deck makes you feel comfortable and at ease. You have used your coaching words extensively, and they have become second nature to you. However, it is crucial to consider whether the marketing team or the person responsible for describing the water exercise programs understands your words. The individual answering the phone should also be familiar with them. Don’t assume that they know your words. Ensuring everyone on your team is on the same page and can communicate effectively with clients is crucial.

Water exercise is essential to our health, which makes

Pools are ESSTENTIAL to our communities!

Before COVID-19, we knew words mattered, but this pandemic really showed us how much they matter.


  1. The only thing that we can predict is that we cannot predict the future.
  2. We have become careless in practicing good health habits.
  3. When establishing a budget for an aquatic center, it’s essential to have a reserve or emergency fund. We need to improve our business practices in aquatics.
  4. The pandemic sparked a national conversation about which activities or services are essential and which are not. Learning to swim and therapeutic exercise are considered essential.
  5. COVID-19 highlighted the need to reevaluate how we train and pay lifeguards and pool staff.
  6. We must start charging a fair price for all aquatic programming and facility access. We can’t keep running pools at a financial loss, or they will close.
  7. This crisis was an opportunity for “cooperative aquatics.” Different areas of aquatics worked together to benefit each other instead of competing for water time.
  8. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual meetings and communication technology, leading to innovations in communication and education.
  9. We were amazed by the number of professionals and organizations that gave their time and resources to help solve problems during the pandemic.
  10. If there’s one thing, we learned from COVID-19, we need to be prepared for the unpredictable.


Guidelines for Presenting an Idea to Your Boss

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln

  1. Minimize the risk – Explain how management can quickly assess its success when presenting a business proposal. For example, set a goal of gaining ten new customers in the first three months.
  2. Show you can handle it – You must demonstrate that you have the time and resources to lead a new project.
  3. Come prepared with a clear plan – Although it may seem obvious, many plans are created without much thought. Develop a plan that is simple, easy to follow, and can be reproduced. Include steps from the beginning to end with wiggle room for flexibility.
  4. Be ready to defend your idea – Ideas must withstand criticism. Be ready to counter any objections with reasons why the proposal should be implemented.
  5. Show enthusiasm – When presenting your proposal, the most important tip is to be confident. Display enthusiasm and specific ideas on how the proposal will be efficient and profitable for the company.
  6. Focus on the program’s potential – Make it clear how the proposal will benefit the company with increased profits, retention, and numbers. Demonstrate how to turn your idea into reality, identify the risks and a plan to overcome those risks.
  7. Prepare three lists of 3:

– Explain three reasons why the proposal would benefit the company

– Provide three reasons why you are perfect to lead the program

– Include three obstacles you see getting in your way and how you would handle them

  1. Emphasize execution – Bosses hear ideas presented to them daily. You need to separate yourself by offering an impressive proposal and demonstrating how you will get it done. Show that you have thought through the entire process and how it will affect others.
  2. Use visual aids – Do not underestimate the importance of visual aids. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.


Be an Aquatic Influencer

Change the PERCEPTION of what Happens in the “WATER”

THINK “Aquatic Health Club”

It’s important to note that 54% of Americans cannot swim, which means we need to find ways to inform them that they can still reap the benefits of exercising in the water without swimming. One practical approach is to use different terminology to counter the myths surrounding the effectiveness of vertical water exercise for everyone.

When someone hears the phrase “let’s go to the pool,” they don’t usually think of exercise. Instead, they might think of activities such as swimming lessons, swim team, or Splish & Splash during open swims, but not exercise classes. We cannot assume that the community understands what our exercise classes are all about.

So, how do we change this perception? The best way is to let our members tell our story. Word of mouth is still the most effective means of increasing interest. As a water exercise coach, you must provide your members with the best experience possible. When they have a positive experience, they will share it with their family and friends.


  1. Design a program that highlights members’ hard work and their accomplishments
  2. Know your client’s name and use them
  3. Design- Develop and deliver themed programs
  4. Offer referral programs
  5. Offer social media learning for the older population
  6. Offer fitness banquets at the end of the year
  7. Photo sessions showing “water exercise”
  8. Offer “Pool Chats”

In addition to in-water exercise programs, offering preventive education related to health and lifestyle can be really useful. We refer to this as “dry-side and wet-side programming”. To get more people interested in water activities, we need to use all our tactics and strategies to get them through the door. Once they’re in the water, the experience of being in the water and your coaching style will keep them coming back for more.


Working and collaborating with leaders and coaches from other program pillars is always beneficial to attract new members to your program. For instance, parents of swim team members and those learning to swim are often on the lookout for ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to remember that many people don’t know how to swim but are interested in starting their fitness journey in the vertical plane. Once they get comfortable, you could introduce them to swimming lessons. Additionally, your existing members might be interested in volunteering as timers for the swim team.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.