Pool Operators Challenged to Keep Rehab Clinics and Patients in Good Health

Keeping rehab clinics-and their patients-in good health requires aquatic facility operators to proceed delicately and, in other cases, aggressively.

4 W 1006 Ab Calling Brad Swendig an aquatic therapy visionary might be a stretch. After all, he didn't really employ much strategy when he decided to use the pools at the Texas-based nonprofit City of Midland Aquatics Inc. to help adults rehabilitate chronic pain, arthritis and other mobility-limiting conditions. At the time, back in the early '90s, his actions simply were borne of necessity-a way to generate revenue for a fledgling facility that initially offered learn-to-swim and competition programs only-not of an effort to redefine the industry with what would eventually become known as "aquatic therapy."

"After I started as a swim coach, it soon became clear that there is a whole lot more to water than I realized," says Swendig, who since 1984 has been the executive director and president of COM Aquatics (which despite its name, is not affiliated with Midland's city government). "By 1993, I really felt like we were reaching a saturation point, so I asked myself how many people in this town of 100,000 would actually participate in aquatics. We needed to find something that had more potential for growth."

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