SPLASH 154 June-July 2024

Page 1

www.splash.online The future of gas For residential pools and spas Staying safe During cold water immersion The challenges and achievements Of teaching adults to swim Luxurious resort living In a Brighton backyard Issue 154 June/July 2024 Swimming Pools / Leisure / Aquatics / Spas / Health

Built to Protect and Perform

With over 30 years of research and development, AIS Water continues to deliver the ultimate in protection, performance and peace of mind. Here’s how our solutions stand out as simpler, safer, smarter choices for water disinfection:

Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS)

• Superior alternative to traditional transformers

• Greater energy efficiency

• Significant weight reduction

• Enables a wide range of salinity

• Extends electrode life

Sealed Internal Cooling

• Titanium core radiator utilises pool water for efficient heat exchange

• Prevents ingress of hot air, salt, and acid vapours

• Provides excellent protection against corrosion

• Creates optimal operating temperatures for electronic components

Robust Construction

• Built to last using high quality materials

• Frame and box made from powder-coated galvanised steel, and high nominal pressure UPVC piping

• Built to withstand harsh environmental conditions and UV radiation

• Horizontally mounted cells for ease of cell maintenance

• Optional split section frame design for limited access sites

Skid Mounted Design

• Skid mounted, minimal footprint for easy installation into plant room

Built-In Acid Wash System

• Built-in acid wash system makes for simpler and safer maintenance of electrodes

• No dismantling of the cell for acid cleaning, means less exposure to chemicals

Reverse Polarity (RP)

• For reduced maintenance

• Reduces calcium build-up

• Less maintenance of electrodes

Safety Features

• Water flow cut-off switch

• Thermal overload cut-off for water and power supply

• Current overload and over voltage protection systems

• Pressure relief valve Warranty

• All commercial chlorine generators are covered by a three-year warranty on power supply and the electrolytic cell

Download the AIS Water AR app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and scan the AIS Water logo to learn “Why choose AIS technology?” AR 51 Millennium Place, Tingalpa, QLD 4173 Australia Phone: +61 7 3396 5222 I Email: info@aiswater.com.au

For freshwater swimming pools

EcoLine® is the absolute ‘best in class’ in-line chlorine generator designed for low-salinity swimming pools with salinity levels between 900ppm and 4,000ppm.

Simpler, Safer, Smarter.

For saltwater pools

AutoChlor® is a well-recognised, global brand of inline chlorine generators and is considered essential for saltwater, coastline and seawater pools with salinity levels between 4,000ppm - 35,000ppm.

Genuine AIS Water Anodes are at the heart of our products. Since 2000 we have manufactured quality anode material for our award-winning residential and commercial chlorinators. We now proudly offer our Australian made anode material to fellow industry partners.

2023 Australian Manufacturing Awards
Power Supply and electrolytic cell
Embracing Innovation Award Winner Queensland
Power Supply and electrolytic cell

• Pool heat pump sizing


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• In-store marketing materials and campaigns

• Dedicated Business Development Manager

• Expert Technical Support & After Sales Support

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The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd

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On behalf of The Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Australia Ltd (SPASA Australia)

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Email: chrismaher@intermedia.com.au

Contributors: Veda Dante

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All material in this publication is copyright to the publisher and/or its contributors. No material may be reproduced without the express permission of the publishers.

Disclaimer: This publication is published by The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd (the “Publisher”) on behalf of SPASA Australia. Materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. All materials should be considered protected by Australian and international intellectual property laws. Unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. Any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. All express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any State of Australia or the provisions of Division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication. This issue of SPLASH! magazine published by The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd (Intermedia) may contain magazine or subscription; offers, competitions, forms and surveys (Reader Offers) which require you to provide information about yourself, if you choose to enter or take part in them. If you provide information about yourself to Intermedia, Intermedia will use this information to provide you with the products of services you have requested and may supply your information to contractors that help Intermedia to do this. Intermedia will also use your information to inform you of other Intermedia publications, products, services and events. Intermedia may give your information to organisations that are providing special prizes or offers that are clearly associated with the Reader Offer. Unless you tell us not to, we may give your information to other organisations that may use it to inform you about other products, services or events or to give it to other organisations that may use it for this purpose. If you would like to gain access to the information Intermedia holds about you, please contact Intermedia’s Privacy Officer at The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd, PO Box 55, Glebe, NSW 2037. Copyright © 2024 - SPASA Australia.

Proudly supported by

The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent those of the above supporters, nor should any product advertised in SPLASH! magazine be seen to be endorsed by the above.


Embracing winter

Winter is a great time of year – rugging up to watch the football, indulging in hearty food and cosying up to outdoor fires.

But swimming? Sure, why not? After all, Australian winters are not like those in Canada or Scandinavia.

Surprisingly, some swimmers think our winter is not cold enough, and partake in cold water immersion, soaking themselves in ice. This growing trend is reputed to have many health benefits including stronger cardio vascular and immune systems. However, it also comes with some risks, and we have looked at both sides of the issue on page 26.

Regular winter swimmers like to have the water nicely warmed up before plunging in. The question is, how do you warm that water up, and does gas still have a role to play in heating swimming pool water to a comfortable temperature? We look into that in more detail on page 29.

For the swimming pool and spa industry, one of the best things about every other winter is the SPLASH! Pool & Spa Trade Show, held this year in August 21-22. Look to page 56 to learn more about this expo, so you can make sure you’ve got everything organised to enjoy every minute on offer.

One last thing to mention is that SPLASH!’s brand manager, David Stennett, has moved on to a new role in the industry. We’ve worked together for the past seven years, and he helped SPLASH! maintain and improve its position in bringing important information to the industry. Another person moving on is Luke Daly who, amongst other things over the past six years, made significant improvements across SPASA’s magazine portfolio including the SPLASH! brand. I wish them both all the best in their new roles in the swimming pool and aquatics space, which are outlined on page 10.

David’s replacement is Declan Gillard-Martin, who has a solid background in aquatics. I’m sure you’ll hear from him in the very near future and, if not before, will certainly see him at the upcoming SPLASH! Pool & Spa Trade Show.

The Intermedia Group takes its Corporate and Social Responsibilities seriously and is committed to reducing its impact on the environment. We continuously strive to improve our environmental performance and to initiate additional CSR based projects and activities. As part of our company policy we ensure that the products and services used in the manufacture of this magazine are sourced from environmentally responsible suppliers. This magazine has been printed on paper produced from sustainably sourced wood and pulp fibre and is accredited under PEFC chain of custody. PEFC certified wood and paper products come from environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of forests.

The cover

The cover shows the a “one-in-a-million job” designed and built by Franklin Group for an owner who wanted a luxury family resort at home. Image by Patrick Redmond Photography. There is more on this project on page 22.

June/July 2024 SPLASH! 7

Clever and compact

Intelligent controls allow the Nipper to efficiently keep pool water swim-ready all year long.

Depend on Davey.

Davey. Proudly Australian since 1934.

Nipper ChloroMatic ™

18 Protect your business from scams and identity theft

Online scams, credit card fraud and identify theft are serious issues – and in recent times they have affected many small businesses including those in the pool and spa industry.

21 Setting the standard

Spiros Dassakis has been recognised by Standards Australia for his 15-year contribution in developing Australian and New Zealand Standards on behalf of SPASA Australia and SPASA New Zealand

22 Resort for a Brighton backyard

This owner of the luxurious pool and landscape learned a lesson from covid and commissioned Franklin Group to design and built an aquatic paradise from which he and the family would never have to leave.

26 Staying safe during cold water immersion

Cold water immersion is becoming more popular for athletes and individuals, but to be safely enjoyed you need to adhere to advice, applicable laws, codes of practice, standards and industry guidelines.

29 The future of gas

Veda Dante discovers that, with the growing residential market presence of heat pumps, some industry insiders are debating what the future looks like for gas pool heating.

The challenges and achievements

Sadly, there have been numerous recent examples of adults drowning in Australia because they were not competent swimmers. In light of this fact, Veda Dante looks at the issue of teaching adults to swim, to discover the pitfalls and highlight the successes.

Contents 18
29 46 regulars News 10 Pool DAs 11 Calendar 13 Commercial news 42 New products 64 Ad index 66 June/July 2024 SPLASH! 9

Industry moves

Luke Daly appointed CEO of ASSA

Luke Daly has been appointed CEO of the Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA).

ASSA president Reece Rackley says that Daly is uniquely positioned to oversee the next phase in the development of ASSA, reinforcing their standing as a strong, stable and sustainable industry body while guiding them toward additional growth.

“He is a welcome and strategically important addition to our organisation,” he says.

Outgoing general manager Emily McNeill will depart in August after eight years at the helm, and will take up a role as global partnership executive for the International Swim School Association (ISSA). Rackley says that as outgoing GM, McNeill’s legacy is marked by strong leadership, dedication and drive.

“She has been instrumental in shaping the direction and success of the association since its inception,” he says.

Industry moves

Daly says he is grateful to McNeill for the work she has done to this point.

“The strength of ASSA’s position in the aquatics industry is in no small part thanks to Emily’s contribution. I am excited to oversee the next stage of growth and development,” he says.

Daly will transition into the role over the coming months, with McNeill departing following the ASSA National Conference on August 20 to 22.

“On behalf of the ASSA Board, I thank Emily for the amazing job she has done growing resources and membership for ASSA while showcasing the association through its world class conferences,” says Rackley.

“We wish her every success in her future endeavours and are excited to see her grow the international swim school market with a bold goal to teach the world to swim.”

Gina Nicholson appointed GM of Barrier Reef Pools WA

Gina Nicholson has been appointed general manager of the Barrier Reef Pools WA group.

Owner Brad Hilbert says that since joining the WA team in January 2022, Nicholson has demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication.

“Her industry experience has been instrumental in developing our operations systems and processes, as is reflected in the quality and strength of our team today,” he says.

Nicholson has been in the pool industry for more than 20 years and says her friends consider her a bit of a “pool nerd”, enjoying sending her photos of amazing pools from across the world.

Her first role in the industry was an administration position, secured with the help of a recruitment agency. From there she spent the next 17 years with the same company across roles in planning, scheduling, logistics and as area coordinator – gaining valuable frontline experience across operations and customer service.

“The loyalty and relationships I built over this time provided the building blocks for my career and guided my growth into senior leadership roles, which I thoroughly enjoyed,” she says.

“Since joining the Barrier Reef Group WA in January 2022, I feel my experience in scheduling, process improvement and leadership has had a positive impact on the business.”

Her professional passion is to encourage people to be fulfilled by their work.

“Everyone deserves to feel supported and maintain work-life balance. I’m a proud advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace – removing prejudice, and supporting working parents and women in our industry is important to me as a person and a leader,” she says.

David Stennett appointed new commercial manager at Maytronics Australia

Maytronics Australia has announced the recruitment of David Stennett who will join their team as commercial manager.

“David brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from his previous role with SPASA, where he made significant contributions to the pool and spa industry over the past seven years,” says Maytronics Australia marketing and customer experience manager David Dean.

“David’s tenure at SPASA was marked by his dedication to help build a unified, worldclass association in the pool and spa space. His efforts have left a lasting and positive legacy, underscoring his commitment to industry excellence.”

Dean says that Stennett is joining Maytronics at an exciting time for the company as they continue to expand their investment across the commercial market.

“His extensive experience and strategic vision will be instrumental in spearheading our commercial division, enhancing our ability to deliver innovative and reliable pool solutions, he says. "

Dean adds that Stennett’s recruitment underscores Maytronics’ commitment to strengthening their presence and capabilities across Australia.

“His leadership will drive our efforts to better serve the commercial pool sector, and our partners and end consumers, ensuring we continue to offer exceptional products and services.”

Stennett says his SPASA journey has been a highlight of his time in the industry so far, and that by joining Maytronics he hopes to add a new and exciting dimension to his career.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a company that is committed to excellence and innovation in the pool industry,” he says.

Contact: www.maytronics.com.au

Luke Daly
10 SPLASH! June/July 2024 news
Gina Nicholson

Industry moves

SPASA farewells two longstanding executives

Annual pool DAs

The rate of decrease has slowed slightly, as comparing the available pool DA figures for the 12 months to May with the same period last year, shows that annual applications were down by 15 percent nationally. South Australia’s is up by 141 per cent, while all other states are down: Queensland by 28 per cent, New South Wales by 22 per cent, Victoria by 18 per cent and Western Australia by seven per cent.

The DA numbers over the most recent three months were down by 14 per cent nationally when compared to the same period last year. The June-May numbers from Cordell show Western Australia up by 25 per cent and South Australia up by one per cent; but other states are down: Queensland by 32 per cent, New South Wales by 15 per cent and Victoria by nine per cent.

Daly held a number of roles at SPASA including chief information officer and most recently chief operating officer, where he had been responsible for the design and development of a portfolio of member, industry and consumer-facing assets, tools and resources that helped grow, protect and promote the pool and spa industry.

Meanwhile, David Stennett is moving on after seven years as brand and advertising manager for the SPLASH! platform, including the print and digital magazine, the website, newsletter, podcast, and the SPLASH! Pool & Spa Trade Show.

Although leaving SPASA, he will remain involved in the pool and spa industry, having recently been appointed commercial manager for Maytronics.

Stennett was well known in the industry and contributed greatly to the continuing success of SPLASH!, introducing a number of innovations such as the Ready Set SPLASH! podcast, on which he often shared hosting duties with Daly, and in the realm of online advertiser engagement.

Declan Gillard-Martin is joining SPASA, replacing Stennett as brand manager for SPLASH! while assisting in the growth of Australasian Leisure Management magazine.

Gillard-Martin comes with a solid aquatics background, holding a number of roles across the commercial and community aquatics industry; most recently with Royal Life Saving Society – South Australia, as general manager operations, and as CEO of public safety-focused organisation, Quack Group. He brings a wealth of experience to the role and makes a welcome addition to the team.

CEO Lindsay McGrath says that SPASA has undergone enormous change over the past few years, expanding and uniting all state-based SPASA entities under one banner.

“This consolidation has not only strengthened our collective voice but also empowered us to lead our industry with unparalleled unity and vision,” he says.

“Both Luke and David made significant contributions in the evolution of SPASA and the organisation as it stands today. We extend our sincere appreciation for their dedication and service, and wish them every success in their new roles.

“As we embark on this next phase of our journey, we are a little less focused on growth, remaining committed to ensuring that SPASA is agile, responsive, and above all, industry and member focused.”

While these figures give an indication of the way the market is trending, they are not comprehensive and don’t include all pools built or even all DAs lodged. By some estimates, the total national numbers including all types of pools could be almost double these figures. They do not include pool projects that are approved as part of a new home, smaller projects under the cost threshold, renovations that don’t require a DA, or some aboveground pools. Additionally, not all councils are forthcoming with data or report on time; councils in some states such as Queensland and Victoria are particularly reluctant. For further information, call Cordell Information on 1300 734 318. Year new May Apr Mar Feb Jan 0 3000 6000 9000 12000 15000 Year new Year old 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 Year new Year old SA WA QLD VIC NSW Three-monthly comparison Yearly comparison by State 0 500 1000 1500 2000 Year new Year old May Apr Mar Feb Jan Dec Nov Oct Sept Aug Jul Jun 3000 6000 9000 12000 15000 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 Year new Year old SA WA QLD VIC NSW Yearly comparison by month 0 500 1000 1500 2000 Year new Year old May Apr Mar Feb Jan Dec Nov Oct Sept Aug Jul Jun 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 Year old NSW
down 15 per cent
COO Luke Daly has left the Swimming Pool & Spa Association after six years and has been appointed to the role of CEO of the Australian Swim Schools Association.
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 11 news
Declan Gillard-Martin and David Stennett

Maytronics launches Australian-made Mineral Swim V2

Maytronics Australia officially opened the production line for the Mineral Swim V2, proudly witnessing the first unit coming off the production line at their head office in Oxley, Queensland.

Marketing and customer experience manager David Dean says the opening marks the beginning of a new era for Maytronics Australia, showcasing cuttingedge advancements developed here and poised to make a global impact.

“This product sets a new standard in the pool industry, reflecting the dedication and expertise of our exceptional Australian team,” he says.

“The production of Mineral Swim V2 in Australia underscores our commitment to investing in local manufacturing and supporting the Australian economy. By leveraging local talent and resources, we ensure that every unit meets the highest standards of quality and performance.

“Maytronics Australia remains dedicated to providing world-class products that enhance the swimming experience. Mineral Swim V2 is just the beginning, and we are excited to share more groundbreaking innovations in the future.”

Mineral Swim V2 utilises Dead Sea minerals, creating a rejuvenating swimming experience, while the advanced ozone purification technology sanitises and disinfects the pool water, effectively destroying bacteria, viruses and other contaminants while reducing the amount of harsh chemicals needed in the pool. Its modular design allows customers to upgrade at a time that suits them.

Keep informed by subscribing to the free online newsletter.

Community pool fined over Year 2 student drowning Port Fairy Community Pool Management and the Victorian Department of Education were fined a total of $180k over the drowning of an eight-year-old boy.

Warehouse expansion

Meanwhile, Maytronics Australia announced a significant expansion of their operational capacity with the investment in two new state-of-the-art warehouse facilities.

In Victoria, Maytronics have more than doubled the floorspace of their Dandenong facility from 500 square metres to a spacious 1050-square-metre warehouse.

This expansion allows them to support the residential market by enhancing their operations around Dolphin robotic pool cleaners and Mineral Swim water treatment systems. It also helps them focus on their Wave commercial cleaners and a wide array of commercial pool products, while introducing a commercial test pool to

provide support facilities to assist their network effectively.

In Western Australia, they are moving from a constrained 475 square metre warehouse to a more than 1000-square-metre facility in Forrestdale. This expansion is aimed at facilitating growth and supporting channel partners in the region, while ensuring quicker delivery times and improved service quality for partners and consumers.

“Maytronics Australia is fully committed to ensuring we offer an exceptional experience to our Elite dealers, franchise partners and end consumers,” says Dean.

“These expansions are a testament to our dedication to excellence and our vision to lead the market with innovative and reliable pool solutions.”

Top five online news stories

The online stories that made the news over the past two months.

Chemical fumes send four children to hospital Police were called to the Macksville Memorial Aquatic and Fitness Centre after reports children had been overwhelmed by chemical fumes.

SPASA farewells two longstanding executives SPLASH! brand and advertising manager David Stennett and SPASA COO Luke Daly have left SPASA after seven years and six years respectively.

Luke Daly appointed CEO of ASSA

After leaving SPASA, Daly was appointed to head up the Australian Swim Schools Association.

New GM appointed to Barrier Reef Pools WA Experienced executive Gina Nicholson has been appointed general manager of the Barrier Reef Pools WA group.

12 SPLASH! June/July 2024 news
Celebrating the Mineral Swim V2 rolling off the production line in Brisbane

Upcoming events


June 27-28 National Sports Convention, Melbourne

June 29

July 20

July 27

Aug 1

Aug 2

SPASA Awards Gala Evening, NSW

SPASA Awards Gala Evening, WA

SPASA Awards Gala Evening, Vic

SPASA Awards Gala Evening, Tas

SPASA Awards Gala Evening, NZ

Aug 15-18 LIWA Conference, Perth

Aug 20-22 Australian Swim Schools Association National Conference, Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre

Aug 20 SPLASH! Golf Day

Aug 21 WAVES Breakfast at SPLASH!

Aug 21-22 SPLASH! Pool & Spa Trade Show, Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre

Aug 21 SPLASH! CEO Lunch

Aug 21 SPASA National Awards Gala Evening at SPLASH!

Aug 22 SPLASH! After Party

Aug 23-25 Melbourne Home Show

Sep 18-20 ARV Metro Conference, Melbourne

Sep 20-22 Swimcon SCTA Conference, Caloundra

Sep 27-29 Brisbane Home Show

Oct 18-20 Sydney Home Show

Nov19-22 Piscine Global, Lyon France


Jan30-Feb1 Aquafun-Atrax, Istanbul, Türkiye

Zane Gulfpanels use cutting-edge technology to capture the sun’s power and extend your swimming season Contact a Zane dealer today and make a splash with the perfect pool heating system! www.zane.com.au 1300 009 263
More details at splashmagazine.com.au. Dates are subject to change and should be checked with the relevant organisation. Send calendar submissions to info@splashmagazine.com.au.
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 13 news

In Brief

AIS Water has been officially named a “Boss” workplace, finding a spot in the top 10 on the AFR’s Top 10 Best Places to Work in Australia and New Zealand list. The list is designed to assess the ten key factors that are critical to employees feeling motivated and engaged at work, based on hundreds of research papers from Harvard University, Stanford University, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, among others. CEO Elena Gosse says she is thrilled AIS Water was named on the list as it recognised the efforts her company goes to in order to attract and retain staff. Sadly, Alex Chandler passed away in April, aged 87. He was well known to the local swimming pool and spa industry for holding the rights to Swim Chem and BioGuard, through which he marketed BioLab products in Australia from 1983 and in New Zealand from 1993. He had a significant impact in these and other Commonwealth markets, and mentored many people involved in the industry. Alex passed away peacefully on April 20, 2024, in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, after a valiant battle with cancer. SPLASH! offers condolences to Alex’s family, friends and colleagues. To read his obituary or view a video of the memorial service, go to www.splash.online/ articles/links154.

Industry moves

Austral NZ appoints Phil Bentley as GM

Austral Pool & Spa Products NZ has appointed Phil Bentley as its new general manager, effective July 1, 2024.

Bentley has an extensive background in business management, most recently holding the position of general manager of Oasis Heat Pumps.

He brings with him more than 25 years of sales, logistics, marketing and leadership experience having worked for both wholesale distributors and international subsidiary companies in NZ.

He spent 11 years leading the product and sales function for Adidas NZ before joining NZ distributor AGI in similar roles, launching the Under Armour brand.

Bentley entered the swimming pool industry nearly four years ago as general manager of the NZ operation for Oasis Heat Pumps, driving strong growth and a new customer-centric business model.

Austral NZ directors Mike Rippon and Jonathan Poole said in a joint statement that they are delighted to welcome Bentley to the team.

“His unique blend of skills and expertise make him the perfect fit to lead Austral NZ as we continue to innovate and grow,” they said in the statement.

Bentley is excited to join Austral NZ.

“You’ll see me out and about, as I enjoy connecting with people and teams as a collaborative leader,” he says. “I’m big on partnerships and engaging with people as these relationships are important to Austral.

“It’s an exciting time to join Austral, as it is well positioned to provide market-leading service, and drive product innovation and new categories with our partners.”


Reece opens new multisite in Darwin

Reece has opened a new multisite branch in Berrimah, Northern Territory – one of their largest multisite locations in Australia, housing four distinct branches.

As part of the opening, Plumbing and HVAC Berrimah relocated to the new multisite. Reece also introduced two new branches at the site, Reece Fire and Reece Irrigation & Pools, marking both business units’ first entry into the Northern Territory.

General manager at Reece Group Ben Counsel says that prior to the opening of Berrimah, Reece primarily served the Northern Territory through its network of eight plumbing branches across the state.

support to the fire protection industry. Berrimah is the sixth dedicated fire branch in Australia.”

“The investment to expand Reece Fire and Reece Irrigation & Pools into the Territory represents our commitment to continue investing in and supporting allied industries who maintain and support the development of essential infrastructure in the Northern Territory,” he says.

Reece has been supporting the fire protection industry for more than 20 years through its national plumbing network.

“In 2021, we opened the first dedicated Reece Fire branch to bring further customised service and

Reece Irrigation & Pools offers dedicated industry expertise for the pool builder, pool service tech markets, landscaper and grower markets. Additionally, Reece Irrigation & Pools Berrimah will offer NT customers access to a range of leading brands such as Rain Bird, ENKi, VADA, Henden and Theralux.

Located centrally, the multisite will provide Territory customers more access to a wide variety of quality products, convenient delivery to site, and a dedicated team of experts across multiple industries, all at one location.

Phil Bentley
14 SPLASH! June/July 2024 news
Staff at the new Reece Berrimah multisite

Stand out.

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Lights are compatible with all popular pool controllers and home automation systems. The innovative InstaTouch™ Smart Lighting Controller provides instantaneous control via a water-resistant handset to enhance the evening atmosphere in your pool and spa.

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Aqua-Quip Australia

International Quadratics rebrands to InterQuad

Pool industry supplier International Quadratics and Pierce Pool Supplies has rebranded with a refreshed logo and name: InterQuad.

International Quadratics and Pierce Pool Supplies merged in 2008, and were acquired by Reece in 2022. The newly branded InterQuad supplies to both the commercial and residential sectors of the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries.

“Our new branding and logo strike the perfect harmony between modern design and enduring tradition,” says marketing manager Marcelle Benjamin.

She says the updated brand identity was designed specifically to highlight InterQuad’s values of trust, expertise and fun.

“Offering a nod to the companies’ shared 150-year history, the new look and feel also highlights InterQuad’s ongoing commitment to


innovation and setting up the future pool industry for success,” she says.

Benjamin says the reimagined logo is a contemporary interpretation of the previous design, bidding farewell to the much-loved dolphin in favour of a dynamic Q-tail that represents the fun side of InterQuad, visually representing a waterslide or a wave.

“The new brand identity hasn’t changed anything about InterQuad’s approach to customer service,” she says.

Zane Solar Pool Heating marks 50 years in business

Zane pioneered solar pool heating in Australia

Zane Solar Pool Heating is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year, marking a significant milestone in providing solar pool heating solutions in the region.

It’s celebrations symbolically began on World Sun Day, May 3.

Starting in 1974 selling its Gulfstream system in Sydney with a handful of installers, the company now has a nationwide dealer network comprising 36 solar professionals installing and servicing hundreds of Zane solar pool heating installations each year.

Zane solar and heating manager Adam Shelley says that long before the terms “carbon footprint” and “eco-friendly” became commonplace, Zane was harnessing the natural energy of the sun so homeowners could extend their swimming season without harming the environment.

Pioneering the solar energy movement during the 1970s energy crisis, Zane initially focused on solar pool heating, a novel concept at the time, supported by Waterco’s early commitment to sustainability.

“It only took four years for Zane to reach international acclaim when, in 1978, it received an Australian Design Award,” says Shelley. “The following year, it was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Prince Phillip Design Award.”

Zane Solar Pool Heating is a subsidiary of Waterco Limited.


Poolwerx COO recognised among Australia’s top franchise executives

Steve Halls, chief operating officer of Poolwerx Australia & New Zealand, has been recognised among the top executives in the franchise sector, ranking third in this year’s Top 30 Franchise Executives Awards.

Over the past 12 months, Halls has played a pivotal role in driving the commercial success of the Poolwerx business through a comprehensive strategy focused on franchise network growth, increased sales and profitability.

His approach has led to significant milestones, including nine per cent year-on-year network growth and impressive increases in average transaction value, service transactions and equipment sales.

He also introduced pioneering initiatives such as the peer-to-peer program and franchise development webinars; fostering collaboration, knowledge-sharing and the expansion of Poolwerx’ franchise network.

Poolwerx CEO Nic Brill says that with his 22 years of experience in franchise management, Halls’ impressive career reflects his passion for excellence and commitment to driving success.

“His dedication to innovation and strategic thinking continues to leave a lasting impact on the sector,” says Brill. “We are reminded of the incredible potential within our franchise community and the positive impact we can collectively make in the franchising industry.”

Halls joined Poolwerx in 2014, progressing from business development manager to chief operating officer. He has celebrated a versatile career spanning more than two decades across diverse franchises including being a franchisee himself.

Halls says he is deeply honoured, and that the achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire Poolwerx network, as well as the support of their franchise partners.

Steve Halls accepting his third place among the top franchise executives The new branding offers a nod to the companies’ shared 150 year history
16 SPLASH! June/July 2024 news

Protect your business from scams and identity theft

Online scams, credit card fraud and identify theft are serious issues – and in recent times they have affected many small businesses including those in the pool and spa industry, specifically related to robotic pool cleaners and credit card fraud.

A pool shop in Victoria received a call from a person interested in purchasing a pool robot. The shop assistant provided a price, and the caller paid over the phone using a credit card. Then, a woman with dreadlocks and facial piercing came into the shop saying the person who paid over the phone had no authorisation to buy the cleaner and she demanded a refund. Unfortunately, the card and ID was not confirmed. The shop paid $1000 to the person in the shop, which was their daily limit.

Just as the scammer left the shop, the legitimate holder of the credit card called, querying the expense on the card. But it was too late. The scammer had gone.

The same scam was attempted at a second Victorian pool shop, but when the scammer entered the shop for a refund, they were refused, saying they could only provide the refund to

New remote access scam

You receive a phone call out of the blue informing you of an issue with your account, phone, or computer. You speak with the scammer over the phone and are instructed to download software or an app which allows the scammer to gain control of your computer or mobile phone.

Once a scammer has access to your computer or mobile phone they seek to access your bank accounts under the pretence that they are helping to resolve an account issue. You may be asked to read out banking passwords or one time security codes which gives the scammer access to your bank accounts to complete fraudulent transactions.

You may be unaware that scammers have drained your bank accounts of funds until the next time you access these accounts.

The recommended action is to hang up on anyone requesting you download software or an app over the phone. Never provide banking information, passwords, or two-factor identification codes over the phone.

Take the time to call the business you are dealing with, using independently sourced contact details or verify the contact through their secure app.

Act quickly if something feels wrong. If you have shared financial information or transferred money, contact your bank immediately. Help others by reporting to Scamwatch.

Source: www.accc.gov.au

Be sure you know who you are dealing with

the card on which it was purchased. Soon after, the actual card owner contacted the shop to query the purchase.

A third incident, this time in South Australia, saw the robot purchased with a credit card, and then collected from the pool store. They tried to sell the cleaner on Gumtree, but by this time the police were onto them and apprehended the offender.

Identity theft

A related form of fraud that can affect businesses and individuals is identify theft – when someone gains access to your personal information without your consent, to steal money or gain other benefits.

Personal information they may seek to access includes your name, address, date of birth or bank account details. They may then use your credit card, access your bank account, use your personal details, send emails from your email account, or use your identity to commit crimes and evade the law.

If you’re a victim of identity theft, it can lead to fraud that can have a direct impact on your personal finances. This could make it difficult for you to obtain loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is resolved.

There are many ways for your identity to be hijacked. It happen through an email or phone call where the thief pretends to be from a charity, a bank, your service provider or even a government agency.

Thieves may also hijack Facebook accounts and email addresses to impersonate your friends and loved ones and ask for money or information. Or they may send you an email with an attached virus that captures your password and personal information.

It can also happen physically when someone gains access to the information in your wallet, your mail or from your personal documents such as a birth certificate.

Beware of unsolicited phone calls or emails that ask for personal information. And always be cautious about who you provide your personal information to. If someone is requesting your personal information ask yourself, is there a legitimate reason for me to give out this information? n

18 SPLASH! June/July 2024 feature

Keeping safe

Safeguarding identity

• Make sure you have a secure place to store your personal documents.

• Destroy excess personal information kept physically. Do not just throw personal information away, shred it first.

• Regularly review your bank statements to check for anything unusual. Report suspicious transactions immediately.

• When using an ATM, cover your PIN and check the machine to see if there are any strange fixtures attached to it.

Staying secure online

• Install anti-virus software on all devices where possible and ensure that routine scans are scheduled.

• Avoid using public access computers in internet cafes for internet banking.

• Use only trusted payment systems and secured websites.

• Be wary of strange emails offering deals that seem too good to be true or threaten a sense of urgency to comply with a demand. Even if the email appears to be coming from someone you trust, if it seems suspicious, treat it as suspicious.

• Never provide personal information to anyone who emails or calls you.

• Create long (minimum 14 character) and unique passwords and store them in a password manager. If you suspect that your details have been caught up in a data breach, this is when password resets should be enacted.

• Be careful about what you provide on social media and in emails.

• Delete excess personal information kept online.

• Enable 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) on all online accounts that support it.

• Enable Full Disk Encryption (FDE) on personal computers.

• Make sure that software updates are regularly installed for all of your devices.

• If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or that your identity may have been compromised, it is important that you act quickly to limit the fraudulent use of your identity.

Source: www.nsw.gov.au/legal-and-justice



Australian Federal Police links to report identity crime.


Find the latest in cyber security alerts from the Australian Signals Directorate, get advice and report a cybercrime, incident or vulnerability.


eSafety is Australia’s independent regulator for online safety, educating about online safety risks and helping remove harmful content such as cyberbullying of children, adult cyber abuse and intimate images or videos shared without consent.


Tips for avoiding identity theft.


Raises awareness about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.

June/July 2024 SPLASH! 19 feature


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Setting the standard

SPASA chief policy officer Spiros Dassakis has been recognised by Standards Australia for his 15-year contribution in developing Australian and New Zealand Standards on behalf of SPASA Australia and SPASA New Zealand

Dassakis is well known for working tirelessly in committees and working groups to advocate for the swimming pool and spa industry’s interests. He has contributed to dozens of standards used by members of the industry.

He says he is very grateful for the recognition from Standards Australia.

“The best part of representing industry on Australian and New Zealand Standards is that in some small way, I have played a role in shaping and upholding the quality and safety benchmarks that protect and underpin the swimming pool and spa industry,” he says.

“In receiving this recognition, I would like to thank Standards Australia committee members as well as acknowledge the work and knowledge of my industry peers, members and mentors who have assisted me in future-proofing an industry that provides so much pleasure to so many Australians and New Zealanders.”

Dassakis says that SPASA takes it role as the peak industry body seriously.

“Without SPASA involvement, each time an Australian or New Zealand Standard is reviewed or developed, industry is exposed to the potential of inflexible prescribed requirements that may negatively impact safety and consumer choice, add to costs and increase red tape.”

He says that, along with protecting consumers and reducing unnecessary industry stringency, the value of SPASA participating in Australian and New Zealand Standards can be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

He gives two standards as examples: The Pool Barrier (AS1926.1) and Water Recirculation (AS1926.3) Standards.

“These are just two examples where the need for a balanced approach that deals with safety, innovation, buildability and compliance creates a challenging environment for committee members to consider, debate and ultimately agree on.

“Whether you’re a pool builder, service technician/retailer, manufacturer/supplier or barrier inspector, SPASA’s proactive engagement in Australian or New Zealand Standards is a significant and lengthy investment that serves to protect, promote and grow the whole of industry within a framework of compliance.”

Contact: www.spasa.com.au n

Long list of standards

Dassakis has been involved in modifying existing and developing new Australian and New Zealand Standards both as a committee member and on working groups on the following standards:

• AS/NZS 1838 Swimming Pools – Premoulded fibre-reinforced plastics – Design and Fabrication

• AS/NZS 1839 Swimming pools – Premoulded fibre-reinforced plastics – Installation

• AS 1900 Flotation aids for water familiarisation & swimming tuition

• AS1926.1 Swimming pool safety – Safety barriers

• AS1926.2 Swimming pool safety – Location of safety barriers

• AS1926.3 Swimming pool safety – Water recirculation systems

• AS/NZS 2416.1 Water safety signs and beach safety flags

• AS/NZS 2416.2 Water safety signs and beach safety flags

• AS/NZS 2416.3 Water safety signs and beach safety flags

• AS2610.1 Spa pools – Public spas

• AS2610.2 Spa pools – Private spas

• AS2818 Guide to swimming pool safety

• AS2369.1 Materials for solar collectors for swimming pools

• AS2369.2 Materials for solar collectors for swimming pools

• AS2783 Use of reinforced concrete for small swimming pools

• AS3633 Private swimming pools – Water quality

• AS3634 Solar heating systems for swimming pools

• AS 3958 Installation of ceramic and stone tiles

• AS/NZS4276.13 Water microbiology

• AS4687.4 Temporary fencing and hoardings – Temporary swimming pool fencing

• AS/NZS4755 Demand response capabilities – DRED

• AS5348 Pool covers

• AS5352 Heat pump systems for swimming pools

• AS/NZS 5102 .1 Performance of household electrical appliances

– Swimming pool pump units

• AS/NZS 5102 .2 Performance of household electrical appliances

– Swimming pool pump units

• AS5125.1 Heat Pump water heaters – Performance assessment Part 1: Air sourced

• AS60598.2.18:2019 Luminaires particular requirements –Luminaires for swimming pools and similar applications.

Spiros Dassakis at the recognition ceremony
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 21 feature

Luxurious resort for a Brighton backyard

This owner learned a lesson from covid and commissioned an aquatic paradise from which he and the family would never have to leave.

This two-acre space is the largest residential property in the whole of bayside Brighton in Melbourne.

When Dave Franklin, principal of the Franklin Group, was commissioned to create a pool and landscape that would do it justice, he knew it was going to be an enormous job to achieve a pool and landscape worthy of the site.

Now that it is complete, the results speak for themselves, but the journey to design and build the whole project took more than four years.

“This was a one-in-a-million job,” says Franklin, who has been in the industry for 35 years and has led the Franklin Group since 2010.

“It’s not every year you get a job of this scale. They are really good clients with a great job to build, who trusted in us to do it well.”

Franklin researched everything down to the smallest detail, which was exacting and time consuming.

“It took us two to three years to design it, to get it perfect so they’d be happy.”

“We didn’t take the job lightly,” he says. “It took us two to three years to design it, to get it perfect so they’d be happy. We checked every material and made sure that everything was to the millimetre. We wanted the wow factor with the job and that’s what we achieved.”

While the design process was exacting, the build was equally so. Construction took nine months for the pool and backyard, and a whopping 18 months for the entire job, which included landscaping all around the house and redoing the tennis court in the front yard.

The owner said that covid had taught him a lot. Instead of going away all the time, he wanted to build a resort-like paradise in his own backyard. And it had to be fun. One of the main aims was for his kids to be able to use it and have their friends over, and it’s clear from the finished project that not only is it fun, but it’s a space kids will flock to.

Several elements of the design elevate this pool to one which not only has the wow factor, but

The scope of this project was massive.
22 SPLASH! June/July 2024 feature

will entertain a variety of people, young and old.

There is the diving board, made from concrete to conform with the depth of the pool, which is a place for the kids to sit on and jump off. As it has no bounce, it is suitable for the pool depth of 1.8 metres.

“The reason we did a concrete diving board is we wanted the pool to be fun. So we were going to do a diving board but we had a look at the guidelines and the pool was too shallow for a springing board. You’ve got to have a certain depth so it’s only about 10 per cent of pools that can have one. I’ve only done two or three pools with diving boards, but now we’re being asked about them a little bit more, we are seeing a comeback. People want to have a bit more fun.”

And then there is the slide: a magnificent concrete curl, emblazoned with thousands of penny round tiles with a rounded surface to ease sliding, powered by a double return and a dedicated pump.

ABOVE: More than a thousand microfibre lights turn the pool into a glittering spectacle.

Photography by Patrick Redmond

This was one of the elements that Franklin thanks the owner for agreeing to.

“He trusted us in building the slide,” he says. “That was definitely a very hard thing to do –forming all the concrete up. You don’t get many clients who go, Yeah, all right, let’s do this!

“And it has really good flow – he made me be the first person down the slide. So it goes well! We’ve got two returns on that, and it’s got a totally separate pump.”

Scaled to impress

While there is plenty for the kids, there is equally as much on offer for the discerning adult.

Three cabanas line one side of the pool, two with day beds and a third, central cabana for entertaining including a full bar and a large TV for watching sport. It meets the pool where there are four stainless steel seats, turning it into a swim-up bar.

Other features include a custom made sauna built beneath the slide, and a long bathing ledge

TOP: The slide featuring penny round tiles curls down from the sauna roof. Photography by Patrick Redmond
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 23 feature

complete with stainless steel umbrella holders and deck canisters that spray out laser-lit coloured water. The ledge also has bubblers on the top and the bottom for the kids to play with, just to add another fun element.

The fully tiled 20-metre by nine-metre pool is illuminated by more than 1000 microfibre lights, providing a sparkling effect to the water. The microfibre lights are also in the large 12-jet spa.

As one of the requirements was that the pool be used year-round, heating became a priority.

“He was very conscious of having a big pool but not having it cold all the time. So he wanted it fully heated. So we’ve got two of the biggest commercial heat pumps that run on that pool, with an automatic cover as wide as the full pool.

“And we’ve got gas for the spa. It’s pouring down rain here at the moment so you’d be using your gas heater for sure.

“All the equipment was the best of the best and oversized,” he says.

The landscaping ties the whole project together, and it is very impressive that large statement plantings fit with both the pool and the home, while at the same time are placed to avoid leaves and mess in and around the pool.

“The landscaping wasn’t easy,” says Franklin, “Because we had to match the scale of the pool. One, it’s got to be lush; two, it’s got to show that it’s luxurious as well; and three, you’ve got to be spaced right out.

“And he doesn’t want to have to keep changing plants every couple of years. We had to build for that high end look, and that’s what we did. There’s plenty of greenery but no trees overhanging the pool to drop leaves.”

The owner is very keen to have a clean, neat space, and the plantings and landscape design take that into account.

TOP: The central cabana meets the pool at the swim up bar.

Photography by Patrick Redmond

ABOVE: Mature plantings means the owner doesn’t need to change plants every couple of years.

Photography by Patrick Redmond

“He wants to be able to put the cover on the pool and then have it nice and clean. He doesn’t like dirt anywhere. So that was the whole idea, keep everything spotlessly clean to the point that even all the outdoor rooms have electric blinds on them.

“That was a lot of money spent on the blinds alone to keep everything clean and neat, and protected from the weather.”

The Franklin Group consists of three arms: the landscape design business, the landscape construction business, and the pool construction business.

Franklin himself has been in the industry 35 years, and he has been operating the Franklin Group since 2010. He is well known for his television appearances, and is currently working on five TV shows this year: The Block, Australia’s Best Pools and the new Australia’s Best Landscapes; as well as hosting Open Homes Australia for the past seven years, and a new show with Lisa McCune starting later in the year called The Garden Hustle. All are on Network Nine and 9Now. n

Contact: www.franklingroup.com.au

24 SPLASH! June/July 2024 feature
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Staying safe during cold water immersion

We’ve all seen the football players getting into ice baths after a game, but there has been a trend recently for people who are not elite athletes to try out cold water immersion (CWI).

CWI can take place in a number of places, from sports and aquatic facilities, fitness centres, commercial gyms, wellness centres, physical therapy and rehabilitation centres, during personal training sessions, in natural water environments such as rivers, lakes or oceans, or at home in the bath or hotto-cold shower. Many people are now also using ice baths at the beach before or after a swim in the ocean.

It may be under the guidance and supervision of a health professional or sports coach, within a client-operator feefor-service arrangement, or completely independently and without anyone else present.

It can be defined as exposing the body to cold water for various therapeutic purposes. The water temperature is usually between 10-15 degrees Celsius, although can be as low as zero degrees Celsius in open, natural water environments.

The claimed therapeutic benefits are interlinked and include a stronger cardiovascular system, improved recovery from physical exercise, reduced inflammation, improved immune system functioning and enhanced mental well-being.

A position statement

Royal Life Saving, SPASA and AusActive have been monitoring the increasing popularity of CWI.

The position statement is limited to guidance and advice on safety considerations for users and providers of CWI programs. It does not provide guidance on cold water swimming, the design or construction of facilities, e.g. tubs or pools, used for CWI, or the systems and equipment used to manage the water quality. However, these are also areas that warrant careful consideration and seeking out separate expert advice.

The principles of quality professional exercise facilities and programs, aquatic safety and drowning prevention underpinning this position statement apply to the full range of settings and contexts of CWI. The advice is chiefly applicable to those organisations or individuals who have a duty of care to anyone participating in CWI.

It is important to recognise that CWI comes with risks and that safety must be paramount. As with any aquatic activity there is an inherent risk of drowning. This risk may be elevated in certain individuals due to the physiological and psychological responses associated with CWI, which include but are not limited to:

• Shock responses – hyperventilation, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and, in extreme cases, cardiac arrhythmias;

“CWI can be conducted safely by adhering to advice, applicable laws, codes of practice, standards and industry guidelines.”

• Respiratory changes/gasping – increased risk of gasping and inhaling water due to loss of breathing control;

• Cramps and muscle spasms;

• Hypothermia and/or frostbite – as a result of excessively cold water or prolonged exposure;

• Panic attack.

The three bodies advise that CWI can be conducted safely by adhering to their advice, applicable laws, codes of practice, standards and industry guidelines. However, there remains a potential risk that an adverse incident could occur and vigilance is required.

The below steps should be taken to reduce the risk and maximise safety when facilitating or participating in CWI:

Screening and assessment: Participants should undergo a pre-activity screening to identify any contraindications or underlying health conditions that might increase their risk during CWI. It is advised that pregnant women, individuals with any chronic or serious illness, or those on certain treatment programs or medications and/or heart problems, circulatory issues, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, or increased sensitivity to cold (Raynaud’s disease), are at an elevated risk.

Informed consent: Participants should receive a comprehensive briefing on the potential risks and benefits of CWI. This information is vital in ensuring participants understand what to expect and the precautions they should take and therefore should obtain medical guidance before commencing CWI activities.

Preparation and warm up: Participants should be trained in how to regulate their breathing during CWI to minimise the risks associated with shock response. Participants should also do adequate warm-up/down before and after CWI to minimise the risk of hypothermia and injury.

Acclimatisation: Cold water exposure should begin with shorter durations and gradually progress as the participant’s tolerance increases. In the context of cold plunge pools, the neck and head should remain out of the water at all times.

Water temperature: The water temperature should be carefully monitored and controlled. It should not be so cold as to cause extreme stress on the body. A temperature range of 10-15°C is generally considered safe for most individuals.

The ice bath world record attempt at Leighton Beach, Perth
26 SPLASH! June/July 2024 feature

Colder temperatures can be used but this increases the risk of extreme stress on the body and appropriate risk reduction steps are strongly advised.

Risk assessment: A thorough risk assessment should be undertaken, and the outcomes should feed into the organisation’s broader risk management plan and other critical safety systems such as emergency management and supervision planning, where applicable.

Supervision: In the context of an aquatic facility, a qualified and trained professional, e.g. a lifeguard, should be present at all times to monitor participants, provide guidance, and respond to any adverse reactions or incidents. The supervision arrangements should be documented in the facility’s supervision plan.

Emergency management: Well-established emergency procedures should be in place and regularly practiced. The emergency plan should document the roles and responsibilities of those responsible for supervision and response as well as access to rescue equipment, oxygen, defibrillators, blankets and medical support.

Sanitisation: The water in CWI may require appropriate sanitation dependent on bather load, filtration, and circulation to maintain safe and healthy water quality. n





Record broken for biggest ice bath

Mark Hughes, the owner of One Life Live It, set the Guinness world record for the biggest group ice bath in the world in January, plunging an official 509 people for three minutes in six-degree water.

The aim of the event was to bring worldwide attention to the benefits of ice bathing on mental and physical health.

The event took place on Leighton Beach, Perth and was joined overseas on live stream from Sri Lanka, England, the USA and four other countries. With a final number of 509, they more than doubled their target of 250 as word got around about the event.

The challenge found strong backing from prominent sponsors, including Red Paddle Co and the national non-profit organisation Sea Gals.

Donations raised through the event are being donated to Beyond Blue, a charity close to the heart of thousands of Aussies who have faced the challenges brought by extreme stress, anxiety and depression.

Numbers soon crept to over 600 excited and willing participants, to the point they had to turn people away or have them standing by on a last-minute waiting list in case anybody dropped out.





June/July 2024 SPLASH! 27 feature
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The future of gas

Gas pool and spa heaters are renowned for their fast heating capabilities, reliable temperature control, convenience and versatility, making them a popular choice for pool owners.

Traditionally, gas was also considered costeffective in terms of running costs. However, with the growing residential market presence of heat pumps, some industry insiders are debating what the future looks like for gas pool heating.

With consumers increasingly aware of environmental sustainability, rising natural gas prices and more efficient options, how are manufacturers and retailers adapting to a changing market?

While heat pumps continue to make a significant splash in the residential swimming pool market, Zane solar and heating manager Adam Shelley says gas pool heater manufacturers are innovating to stay afloat.

“Heat pumps are undeniably energy-efficient; however, gas heaters still hold a strong position for several reasons,” he says.

“First, they heat up faster. Gas heaters are champions of speed, providing rapid temperature increases, which is ideal for those who crave a warm dip on short notice.

“Second, they’re climate independent. Unlike

heat pumps, whose efficiency dips in cooler temperatures, gas heaters deliver consistent warmth regardless of the weather.

“And finally, they offer large-scale heating. For sizeable pools and spas, gas heaters offer the muscle needed to maintain comfortable temperatures.”

Shelley says gas-fired heater manufacturers aren’t just sitting idle as alternative pool heating systems take a slice of the market.

“To start with, we’re seeing higher efficiency ratings as newer models boast improved thermal capability, narrowing the gap with heat pumps in terms of energy consumption,” he says.

“Contemporary models are also equipped with smart controls and wifi-enabled thermostats that allow for remote management and scheduling. This enhances convenience while potentially reducing energy use. Ecoconscious advancements are also minimising

“Heat pumps are undeniably energy-efficient; however, gas heaters still hold a strong position for several reasons.”

A warm pool is a delight, but what is the best way to keep the pool at a comfortable temperature? Image: AdobeStock AI
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 29 feature
Rheem Raypak gas heaters have a long history in Australia
“Gas heaters can operate efficiently regardless of the ambient temperature.”

the environmental impact of gas heaters by producing low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. NOx is a mixture of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are gases produced from natural sources.”

Shelley says Waterco’s Turbo Temp and Rheem Raypak are renowned gas pool heater brands, each offering distinct advantages.

“The Turbo Temp range is known for its userfriendly controls, digital displays, and emphasis on quiet operation,” he says.

“Some models also boast features like variablespeed blowers for further efficiency. Rheem Raypak, which has been a trusted name in the industry for decades, is renowned for their durability and powerful heating capabilities. Their lines often include features like cupronickel heat exchangers for enhanced corrosion resistance.”

While heat pumps might be gaining traction in North America and Europe, Shelley says gas heaters continue to see strong sales in areas with readily available and affordable natural gas.

“Additionally, gas heaters are often the preferred option in colder climates where consistent heating is paramount,” he says.

Davey, which also stock’s Rheem Raypak gas heaters for its Australian and New Zealand customers, says consumers still rely on gas to provide perfect pool water temperature.

“Like Davey, Rheem was also founded in Melbourne, Victoria in the 1930s and continues to manufacture its products locally,” says Davey pool and spa category manager Sharon Tucker.

“We’re proud to offer our pool customers a premium gas heating solution that is not only reliable and robust but also proudly bears the Made in Australia badge.”

Emerging trends in the Australian market

In September 2023, a report titled “Heat pumps – Emerging trends in the Australian market” by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, confirmed that heat pumps have gained significant attention in recent years as a key technology in the global push for decarbonisation and improved energy efficiency.

Among its key findings, it found that “Australia is experiencing a surge of heat pump sales that is expected to continue at least into the mid-2030s as heat pumps continue to replace gas appliances in both existing and new buildings.”

While heat pumps are taking a bigger slice of the pool heating market, Fluidra’s senior category manager Rohit Chitre says there are a few situations where gas remains relevant.

“Gas heaters can raise the water temperature quickly, making them ideal for users who need to heat their pool on short notice or use their pool intermittently,” he says.

“Heat pumps, while efficient, generally take longer to achieve the desired temperature.”

In regions with colder temperatures, Chitre says heat pumps can become less effective as the outside air temperature drops.

“Gas heaters, on the other hand, can operate efficiently regardless of the ambient temperature. Generally speaking, they also have a lower initial purchase and installation cost compared to heat pumps. This can be a deciding factor for budgetconscious consumers or those who don’t plan to use the pool year-round.”

Supplementary heating

Some pool owners may opt for a hybrid system, using a heat pump for general heating and a gas heater for quick boosts in temperature. This combination can provide both energy efficiency and flexibility.

Chitre says gas heater manufacturers are introducing product innovations to better compete, one being copper-nickel heat exchangers.

“This offers excellent seawater corrosion resistance, high thermal conductivity, and robust mechanical strength, making them ideal for marine and industrial applications,” he explains.

“Their resistance to biofouling and stress corrosion cracking also ensures long service life and reduced maintenance. These properties result in efficient, durable, and cost-effective heat exchangers.”

Introducing a bypass on a pool heater enhances energy efficiency, extends the heater’s lifespan, and allows for better temperature control.

“It reduces wear and chemical exposure, facilitating easier maintenance and service,” says Chitre.

30 SPLASH! June/July 2024 feature
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“Overall, it leads to significant cost savings and improved system performance. The Zodiac JXi Gas heaters come with the ‘Versaflo’ bypass.”

Growing awareness of environmental sustainability

Sunlover managing director Steve Rickard believes the Australian industry is witnessing a shift away from the traditional reliance on gas pool and spa heaters towards alternative heating methods.

“This pivot is driven by a combination of environmental concerns, economic factors, government initiatives and technological advancements,” he says.

“It reflects a broader global trend towards sustainability and innovation in energy usage.”

He says that, going forward, Sunlover believes there will be a decreasing role for gas to play in the pool and spa heating arena. One of the primary drivers behind the move away from gas heating in the pool industry is the growing awareness of environmental sustainability and running costs.

“Consumers and governments are more aware that gas-powered heating systems contribute to climate change. In response to these challenges, there is mounting pressure on industries across the board to reduce their reliance on gas and shift towards renewables,” says Rickard.

“This has seen new products such as solar PV panels working in conjunction with energy efficient heat pumps become more dominant in the pool and hot water marketplace.”

Beyond environmental concerns, there are also compelling economic reasons driving the shift away from gas heating.

“Gas prices have risen dramatically and are contributing to the significant cost of living pressures being faced by many families,” he says.

“As consumers become more cost-conscious and seek to reduce their utility bills, the appeal of PV solar systems and alternative heating methods such as heat pumps become increasingly apparent.”

Government policies and initiatives have further accelerated the shift away from gas and towards alternative heating methods in building and construction industries, which have flowed through to the pool and spa sector.

“For example, the Victorian Government’s Gas Substitution Roadmap requires that, as of January 1, 2024, new gas connections for new dwellings, apartment buildings and residential subdivisions (that require planning permits) will be phased out,” says Rickard. “This means that anyone building a new home will be required to have an all-electric power supply and can only use electric appliances. This includes pool heating.”

“Consumers and governments are more aware that gas-powered heating systems contribute to climate change.”
A steaming warm pool Image: AdobeStock AI
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 33 feature

The Victorian Government is also creating new incentives to electrify with the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program, which may extend to

all major household appliances that have historically used gas.

“This may provide an additional reason for households to move their existing pool heating systems away from gas, as they near time for replacement,” he explains.

Advancements in technology

Technology has already played a role in driving the transition away from gas heating in the pool and spa industry. Innovations in PV solar panels and heat pump design have made these alternatives more reliable, efficient and affordable than ever before.

“Heat pump technology has also improved, allowing for higher energy efficiency and better performance, even in colder climates like Victoria and Tasmania,” says Rickard.

“Automation systems for heat pumps have become more sophisticated, offering precise temperature control and programmable features that enhance user experience and energy efficiency.”

In the short term, Sunlover believes gas will continue to play a role in the pool heating market, particularly for existing

34 SPLASH! June/July 2024 feature
Sunlover’s gas replacement Oasis heat pump

home owners who are installing a new spa or pool/spa combination, where they require rapid heating of the spa and don’t perceive high gas bills as a deterrent.

“However, as existing pool owners’ gas heating systems reach their end of life, they are already looking at options to replace these with non-gas alternatives that are compliant with government requirements, are more environmentally sustainable and offer significantly lower running costs,” he explains.

“As it stands, any pool built in Victoria as part of a new home build will have to comply with government requirements for no new gas connections and it’s inevitable that this trend will follow suit in all other states and territories at some point. If this government strategy remains the same this unique combination of environmental concerns, economic factors, government initiatives and technological advancements will ensure that gas heating has a decreasing role to play in the pool and spa heating arena.”

Sunlover has long recognised that pool owners and builders increasingly seek energy efficient heating alternatives that are both environmentally responsible and cost effective.

“While gas heater usage for swimming pools has been phased out over time as more


have felt that only gas heating solutions have had the capacity to provide them with a fully heated spa in around an hour.”

environmentally sustainable heat pumps have entered the market, gas has remained a fuel of choice for spa heating,” says Rickard.

“Consumers have felt that only gas heating solutions have had the capacity to provide them with a fully heated spa in around an hour, even in the depth of a Melbourne winter – something that heat pumps were unable to achieve.

“As a result, Sunlover has been committed to using our industry leading research and development capabilities to create a new class of heat pumps that can provide consumers and builders with a more sustainable alternative to gas heaters, that is suitable for use in not only pools, but also in spas.”

Rickard believes Sunlover is ideally placed to develop and supply a new breed of heat pumps to consumers that offer the technological and efficiency advances required to ensure they are fit for purpose in both the pool and the spa market.

June/July 2024 SPLASH! 35 feature

A heated indoor pool can be a winter sanctuary

Reasons for diminishing gas demand

Fluidra senior category manager and “resident heating expert” Rohit Chitre cites the key factors behind what he says is a decline in gas pool heating.

Rising energy costs — the cost of natural gas has been increasing, making gas heaters more expensive to operate compared to alternative heating options.

Homeowners are seeking more cost-effective solutions to manage their pool heating needs.

Environmental concerns — there is growing awareness and concern about the environmental impact of fossil fuels, including natural gas. This has led to an increased preference for environmentally friendly heating options like solar and heat pump systems.

Government policies and incentives — renewable energy investment in Australia has seen a notable increase in recent years, driven by a combination of government policies, technological advancements, and growing environmental awareness. This shift is contributing to a significant transformation in the country’s energy generation mix, moving away from traditional fossil fuel sources such as coal and gas towards more sustainable and cleaner energy options.

Subsidies – subsidies and rebates for solar heating systems and other renewable energy technologies make them more attractive compared to gas heaters. Certain states such as Victoria have implemented a ban on gas connections for new housing developments. It is anticipated that similar policies will be adopted by other states in the future.

Infrastructure and resources — compared to alternative heating products, such as electric heat pumps, the infrastructure required for gas heaters is significantly more expensive.

Consequently, there is a growing scarcity of licensed technicians required to install and commission them. As the demand for gas-related services diminishes, the industry may face a significant shift in workforce dynamics and services availability.

Technological advancements — advances in technology have made alternative heating systems, such as solar pool heaters and electric heat pumps, more efficient and reliable. These systems often have lower operational costs and longer lifespans, making them a more appealing choice for consumers.

Consumer preferences — there is a shift in consumer preferences towards sustainable and energy-efficient products. As people become more conscious of their carbon footprint, they are more likely to choose greener options for heating their swimming pools.

Market trends — the pool heating market is witnessing a trend towards more sustainable solutions. Solar and heat pump systems are becoming increasingly popular, leading to a decline in the demand for traditional gas heaters.

“We have a long history of embracing heat pump technology and are proud to be one of the first companies to introduce heat pumps to the Australian market,” he says. “We have continued to lead the way in product development, providing market leading, technologically advanced products such as our PV and smart-gridready Oasis iX series heat pump.”

Halving gas expectations

Historically, gas-based heating products have made up 15 per cent of Sunlover’s total pool and spa heating sales. However, by the end of 2024, Rickard believes this figure will drop to around seven per cent as more clients move to energy efficient alternatives that include its heat pump offerings.

“Sunlover’s industry leading in-house R&D department has found that traditional heat pumps have a number of limitations,” says Rickard.

“One is that they do not provide the high output required to work effectively in high demand environments such as spas. Another is that traditional heat pumps of such a large capacity require extremely large footprints, as the output capacity is increased, making them challenging to install, noisy to operate and aesthetically unappealing to consumers.”

Leveraging the learnings from its research, Sunlover created the new Oasis Rapid Pro heat pump range, which creates “unheard of levels of energy efficient, rapid heating”.

“The Rapid Pro provides a large kilowatt output unit that creates the high output required for use in both pool and spa environments, while only needing a relatively small footprint to enable effective installation,” explains Rickard.

“These units are fitted with a much larger titanium heat exchanger, top of the range high quality compressor and a significantly bigger refrigeration coil system – enabling the unit to

Image: AdobeStock AI
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 37 feature

heat water faster than any other air to water pool heat pump in the marketplace. The Rapid Pro can provide rapid heating of water to a temperature that is suitable for not just pools, but also for spas.”

Traditional gas heaters used in a colder climate such as Melbourne in peak winter would have the capacity to heat spa water from 11°C to 36°C in around an hour.

“Our research has confirmed that using the new Oasis Rapid Pro heat pump, this same temperature can be reached in the middle of a Melbourne winter under three hours, 90 minutes in spring and autumn, and well under an hour in summer months with even faster performance in warmer climates such as Sydney, Brisbane and Perth – unheard of for a swimming pool heat pump,” he explains.

“While winter heat-up times remain longer than using a traditional gas heater, with the introduction of the Rapid Pro’s advanced, wifi automation functions, the heat pump can be remotely set to turn on in advance, ensuring that the spa is available for use whenever the owner desires, allowing maximum use for minimum energy outlay.”

Sunlover’s internal and in-field testing has also showed that the Oasis Rapid Pro is significantly cheaper to run than gas alternatives.

“When set up for use in conjunction with the home owners solar PV system, running costs can be reduced by 50 per cent,” says Rickard.

“The other significant advantage is that the upfront cost of their pool and spa heating system is significantly reduced as the traditional package of two heaters is replaced by just one Oasis Rapid Pro Heater – and there is no requirement to run the extremely expensive dedicated gas line to the pool equipment area.”

That’s because in the past, pool owners and builders would have had to design and purchase a pool heating system that featured a gas heater for the spa in addition to a solar or heat pump system for the main pool. This need for multiple heating systems was costly to purchase, complex to design and required a larger space on the equipment pad to install the dual units.

Rickard believes Sunlover’s Oasis Rapid Pro is the first pool and spa heating system that can meet all a pool and spa owner’s heating and installation requirements with the one product.

Ever-evolving technological advancements

The market for gas pool heaters remains robust as consumers continue to invest in them for their reliability and efficiency in heating pools. However, advancements in technology are shaping the future of pool heating solutions, introducing new options and product features that are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

“Consumers are still investing in gas pool heaters. However, the market is evolving with new technology coming along,” says Swimart Rouse Hill owner Peter Morris.


heat pumps of such a large capacity require extremely large footprints, making them challenging to install, noisy to operate and aesthetically unappealing to consumers.”

“We can see the market moving towards inverter technology, which provides energy and cost efficiency solutions to consumers. Wifi connectivity is a must these days, allowing pool owners to set their pool heat pump timer and temperature from wherever they are.”

Poolwerx CEO Nic Brill says the pool and spa franchise network has also seen a decline in gas pool heating sales, coinciding with an uptick in environmental awareness.

“We believe the reason for this is a combination of clients leaning toward more energy-efficient heat pump solutions as well as the increase in natural gas prices,” he explains.

“Overall, we see the market leaning towards more sustainable equipment solutions.” n









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Winter swimming great for kids, says RLS

As temperatures drop and winter takes hold, Royal Life Saving Australia is encouraging parents to keep their children active during the colder months by enrolling them in Swim and Survive swimming lessons.

Research shows that almost half of 12 year olds can’t swim continuously for 50 metres or float for two minutes in deep water – a basic swimming and water safety benchmark. Winter swimming lessons are a great way for children to retain and build upon skills learned during the summer, and establishing a year-round swimming routine promotes lifelong healthy habits.

Royal Life Saving Australia chief executive officer, Justin Scarr, says that contrary to popular belief, swimming during the colder months offers numerous benefits that contribute to children’s fitness, safety and overall well-being.

“Winter swimming lessons are an excellent way for children to stay active and healthy throughout the colder months. Not only does it help maintain their swimming skills, but it also provides a fantastic opportunity for social interaction and building confidence in the water.

“Swimming is not just great for physical fitness; it

also boosts mood, reduces anxiety, and enhances coordination and motor skills. It’s an inclusive activity that children of all ages and abilities can enjoy, helping them achieve developmental milestones,” he says.

Royal Life Saving Australia offers practical tips for parents and swim teachers to ensure children remain warm and comfortable during winter swimming lessons:

• Dress warmly before and after lessons, including a beanie and proper footwear.

• Avoid water play before lessons to keep children warm and focused.

• Engage in warm-up stretches to increase blood flow and reduce injury risk.

• Use snug-fitting rash vests and swim caps for extra warmth, without restricting movement.

• Take a hot shower immediately after lessons to warm up quickly.

• Maintain activity during lessons with short, dynamic drills.

• Incorporate out-of-water training on particularly cold days to focus on water safety skills.

Contact: www.royallifesaving.com.au

Chemical fumes at NSW aquatic centre send four children to hospital

Around 9:30am on May 20, police were called to the Macksville Memorial Aquatic and Fitness Centre after reports children had been overwhelmed by chemical fumes.

Four children were rushed to hospital after being affected by the fumes, suffering respiratory distress, and a fifth child was treated at the scene.

Health authorities told the ABC on May 21 that three children were in a stable condition at Macksville Hospital, while the fourth child is now also in a stable condition at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

Police told the ABC the excess fumes were suspected to be the result of a chemical overdose of the indoor pool.

SafeWork NSW attended the aquatic centre following the incident that caused chemical fumes to overwhelm the patrons. SafeWork NSW told SPLASH! that they are investigating the incident, but cannot give a time as to when the results of the investigation will be made public.

In brief 44 Strategy summit looking to drive aquatic industry cohesion � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 44 Accessible fortress for Aquarabia 45 The challenges and achievements of teaching adults to swim 46 LTS
Commercial & Aquatics
AdobeStock, illustrative only 42 SPLASH! June/July 2024 news

Pool management and education department fined $180k over drowning of eight-year-old boy

On May 31, Warrnambool County Court’s Judge Claire Quin fined both Port Fairy Community Pool Management and the Victorian Department of Education over the death of an eight-year-old boy in 2021. The fines of $100,000 for the education department and $80,000 for the community pool management were imposed for safety breaches surrounding the drowning of Cooper Onyett at his school camp.

Port Fairy Community Pool Management is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers. The Year 2 student drowned after slipping below the surface of the Belfast Aquatics Community Pool and Fitness Centre in Port Fairy during a group activity involving an inflatable aquatic course.

His mother had given advice to the school that he could not swim well. However, this information was not relayed to the pool staff, who asked for a show of hands as to who could swim before allowing Cooper onto the inflatable.

Judge Claire Quin said asking children if they could swim was unreliable as they were likely eager to get onto the inflatable course.

Twenty children were allowed onto the inflatable, but soon the lead lifeguard decided to get in the water to help children including Cooper who were struggling to swim to the shallow end. Only six students were assessed as being able to continue using the inflatable device and the remaining 22 were told to stay in the shallow end.

Cooper was later spotted by a swimmer who at first thought he was holding his breath, before she quickly alerted staff. The boy was pulled from the water but could not be revived.

The judge described the Victorian Education Department’s breach of workplace safety laws as serious because it had failed to relay information collected about the children’s swimming skills to staff at the pool.

The pool management was convicted and Quin said that even though its breach was more serious, the punishment was moderated by its status as a not-for-profit community pool and acknowledged the group had since worked with WorkSafe Victoria and Life Saving Victoria to improve staffing levels, policies and procedures at the pool.

She also found the Department of Education’s breach was serious, however there had been improvement in policies and procedures since the tragedy to ensure the information on swimming abilities would be passed onto providers.

“Schools are now required to assess students’ swimming abilities prior to the water activity being carried out,” she said.

“I was informed that parents can now be confident the information they provide to the school regarding their child’s swimming abilities will be provided to the relevant party involved in the swimming activity, [and] that there have been broader improvements generally to the guidance and resources as well.

“As far as this breach is concerned, the issue has been fully addressed.”

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June/July 2024 SPLASH! 43 news

In Brief

Swimsuit colour is a factor in keeping your child safe in public pools, according to the American Lifeguard Association’s director of health and safety, Bernard Fisher. Bright and contrasting colours stand out more clearly against the water, helping make children more easily visible in pools or the open water, but it’s one small factor among several important safety measures as part of layers of protection. US based public water safety education group Alive Solutions carried out tests showing white and light blue tend to disappear in the water, and while darker colours show up on a light pool bottom they can often be dismissed for a pile of leaves, dirt or a shadow. Their favoured choice is neon pink and neon orange.

Myrtha Pools and Royal Life Saving Australia have joined forces, committing to revitalise end-of-life public pools. Myrtha have a portfolio of more than 200 local public swimming pools. RLS is actively raising

awareness among relevant authorities to prevent the negative impact of public pool closures across the country, highlighting that 40 per cent of public pools will reach the end of their functional lifespan by 2030. Through this partnership, Myrtha Pools will share its expertise in refurbishing and constructing energy-efficient swimming pools through its RenovAction technology. The company offers sustainable solutions from both economic and environmental perspectives, reducing downtime and costs compared to traditional construction methods. Myrtha Pools has also announced a partnership with Melbournebased pool lining experts Mattioli.

Swimming Australia has launch its first major project under the SwimAus Foundation, the Pool for Purpose initiative. The Pool for Purpose initiative raises funds for community projects across Australia to help build a legacy and connect communities through swimming.


With a goal of raising $2.5 million – one dollar for every litre of water in an Olympic swimming pool – the funds will go towards projects such as First Nations Participation programs via Deadly Little Dolphins, Para Participation programs, coaching education for regional and remote communities and assisting with funding the gap for school swimming programs.

Surf Lakes Capricorn Coast has shared new designs for their approved Yeppoon surf resort. At the heart of the development will be a commercially upgraded Surf Lake. The upgraded machine will mean a significant improvement in wave size (up to 2.6m face height) and length (up to 15-second rides), creating a playground of lefts, rights, reforms and slabs for all ability levels. While benefitting from an aesthetic overhaul, the machine will also be much quieter than the prototype, with the ability to run on renewable electricity.

Strategy summit looking to drive aquatic industry cohesion

An industry workshop that aims to attract industry leaders to workshop the future of aquatic and recreation is to be held on the Gold Coast on 23rd August under the banner of the Aquatic Recreation Network Australia (ARNA).

To be held at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday 23rd August, alongside the SPLASH! exhibition, the invitation-only ARNA Aquatics and Recreation Strategy Summit 2024 aims to present a “dive deep into the future of aquatics and recreation with an exclusive … gathering of the industry’s leaders, (at) a day to workshop the future of aquatics and recreation.”

Driven by Aquatics and Recreation Queensland (ARQ), the summit will feature discussions on industry trends and challenges, a look at actionable strategies for growth and innovation, and networking connections to elevate business and the aquatic and recreation industry. ARQ add that the event is “carefully curated for industry leaders, innovators, and decision-makers.”

At a time when AUSactive’s advocacy for the upcoming federal budget to include tax deductibility for gym memberships for all taxpayers is showing the value of a national industry peak body, ARNA’s move is significant.

Formed in 2021 to replace activities previously undertaken by the Australian Leisure Facilities Association (ALFA), ARNA set out to provide information sharing, networking and collaboration between state peak associations and representatives and to deliver project support and advocacy at a national level.

More info at: www.splash.online/articles/links154

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Accessible fortress finding home in Aquarabia

WhiteWater is supplying new attractions to Aquarabia Qiddiya City in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. They are designing and delivering 22 exhilarating rides and attractions including some record-breaking and signature experiences.

WhiteWater says that one of the standout areas of the park for the entire family to play together features a FusionFortress 18. This structure is known for its ground-level interactives so children with limited mobility can still explore and engage with the toys, spraying their siblings with jets, turning wheels to set off various reactions on the structure, and, most importantly, sharing in the fun.

The first play structure of this scale in the world, the FusionFortress 18 boasts a staggering 181 interactive play features, 11 diverse water slides, two tipping buckets, and a water geyser spraying nearly 30 metres into the air. Covered in hand-carved desert animals and vibrant geometric patterns to engage the imagination, the FusionFortress 18 is an accessible attraction that is designed to create hours of entertainment without long wait times.

The park will feature many attractions not yet seen before in the Middle East, including a Mat Blaster water slide where guests will ride headfirst on a series of gravity-defying blasts and an AquaLoop + Flatline Loop Fusion, merging two of the world’s most heart pumping drop slides together into one slidepath. Both attractions will be in the centre of the park at the iconic Camel Rock.

Some dry fun was also accounted for to ensure every visitor at the water theme park is enjoying their time.

Contact: www.whitewaterwest.com

"The first play structure of this scale in the world, the FusionFortress 18 boasts a staggering 181 interactive play features, 11 diverse water slides, two tipping buckets, and a water geyser spraying nearly 30 metres into the air."

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June/July 2024 SPLASH! 45 news

The challenges and achievements of teaching adults to swim

Sadly, there have been numerous recent examples of adults drowning in Australia because they were not competent swimmers. In light of this fact, we look at the issue of teaching adults to swim, to discover the pitfalls and highlight the successes.

While swimming lessons are commonly associated with childhood, the benefits of learning to swim extend well into adulthood, making it a valuable and transformative activity for people of all ages.

Learning to swim as an adult can significantly enhance physical health, mental wellbeing, social connections and other valuable life skills. Embracing swimming later in life not only enriches the individual’s overall lifestyle but also contributes to creating safer, healthier communities.

For many people, swimming at the beach or pool is part of the Australian culture and lifestyle; something many of us grow up doing. However, countless adult migrants and refugees never had the opportunity to learn to swim, and they miss out on this experience not only for themselves, but sometimes for their children too.

And sadly, some get into perilous situations when they attempt to swim in the surf and even in public and hotel swimming pools without the requisite skills.

Contracted by the Australian Government since 1998, Navitas Skilled Futures delivers programs that help students from diverse backgrounds improve their English language and employability skills.

Navitas created the English for Swimming program in 2019 for a group of female students at their Bankstown college who expressed interest in learning to swim, but were also experiencing a number of barriers, including fear of water, cost of lessons and language difficulties.

To achieve this, Navitas teamed up with Different Strokes Swimming, a Sydney-based learn-to-swim school solely for adults. This was the first of its kind in combining English language skills, classroom activities, virtual reality, technology-enhanced learning and physical swimming lessons.

“We have successfully run the program several

“Now at least if they take their


to the pool, they feel they can keep them safe.”

times since 2019, helping migrants and refugees gain a new skills, become more confident in the water and feel empowered,” says general manager Jetinder Macfarlane.

“Our aim was never to turn these women into great swimmers. It was more about allowing them to enjoy the water, and to feel safe and confident to get in and have a splash, especially with their children. Now at least if they take their children to the pool, they feel they can keep them safe.”

Common program outcomes include feeling confident in the water, knowing how to save someone who is in trouble, being comfortable in the deep end, being able to tread water and, of course, improving English. Some of the softer outcomes include an increased sense of mental wellbeing, happiness and a sense of achievement.

“In 2021 we turned the program into an interactive teaching resource so we could make it more accessible with adult education providers in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities across Australia,” she explains.

“We hoped sharing it for free would break down the barriers to learning to swim for this group of people and help empower more adults

Navitas’s English for Swimming Program participants

“One client hadn’t told her husband she couldn’t swim, and took swimming lessons with me on the quiet.”

46 SPLASH! June/July 2024 feature

from CALD backgrounds with new skills and water confidence, and ultimately help reduce the number of drowning deaths among this statistically over-represented group.”

The resource pack, which is available online, includes suggested lessons; links to instructional and virtual reality videos aimed at showcasing technique and addressing fear; flash cards; and advice on how to partner with swimming centres and aquatic organisations.

“This valuable resource is designed for any learning provider centre wishing to run a program that combines English classes with a learn-to-swim program designed specifically for adults,” she says.

Personal and cultural barriers

Kari Baynes, the founder of Different Strokes Swimming, not only helped developed Navitas’ successful and highly regarded English for Swimming program, but infused it with her personal experiences.

At 48 years of age, Baynes decided to take classes so she could learn how to swim freestyle.

“After I had started taking lessons, people commented on how healthy I looked and asked what I had been doing. Feeling slightly embarrassed, I said I had taken up learn-to-swim classes,” she explains.

“Quite a few confessed they couldn’t really swim either. At the time I was working for Newscorp and after 16 years, in 2014, I was made redundant.

“Identifying a gap in the market, I chose to set up an adult swim school rather than return to the corporate world. In January 2015, Different Strokes Swimming was launched, taking on our first clients in Prince Alfred Park Pool, Surry Hills.”

Baynes has since become a passionate advocate of water safety to help reduce the number of drownings we see every year in this country.

“The ability to swim offers you so many recreational choices in Australia; swimming for fitness, surfing, diving, sailing, boating, rock fishing, and much more,” she says. “The ability to swim can contribute greatly to your overall wellbeing, physically and mentally. It is liberating.”

Encouraging participation

While you may think adults would find it daunting to wade into a pool without knowing how to swim,

Baynes says most people don’t need much convincing.

“They approach us for one of the following reasons: they, or someone they know, has experienced a near drowning event; they have children who are learning to swim at school, and they don’t feel confident to save them if they had to; or they see all the swimming pools and beaches here and view learning to swim as a critical part of their integration into Australian society,” she explains.

Body image issues, cultural norms (including swimming attire and mixed sex public swimming pools, outdoor swimming pools), fear and phobias — these are just a few of the barriers adults who don’t know how to swim need to overcome.

“There are many adults who are not confident or comfortable being seen in public in the equivalent of their underwear (swimming costumes) whether it be a cultural influence or a body image matter. This goes for both sexes,” says Baynes.

“Some cultures require a woman be covered in a public domain, while others do not revere a tanned body. Some cultures are only comfortable swimming in segregated pools. There are many considerations when teaching those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.”

Other broader issues include a sense of embarrassment to be learning this skill later in life, fear, or water phobia, finding time as people lead complex and busy lives and, finally, accessibility to dedicated adult learn-to-swim programs.

LEFT: Learning to swim is a great confidence booster. Image: Navitas

BELOW: Many of Shawn Read’s adult swim students arrived in Australia as adults and didn’t have the opportunity in their home countries to learn to swim

“It’s easy to say we need to provide more facilities, but it’s not easy to find funding or staff to do so.”
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 47 feature

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“Not having this skill certainly restricts your enjoyment of any aquatic pursuits and can reinforce the fear that the water is not a safe place to be. This fear can ripple into the rest of the family, so the next generation feels it’s very unsafe too,” she says.

“On the flipside, I know of young men who have no idea how dangerous the ocean can be and fearlessly jump off rocks into the sea, which could end their lives.”

Not being able to swim can be quite isolating when you are unable to participate fully in social gatherings which involve swimming pools.

“I had a client who hadn’t told her husband she couldn’t swim,” recalls Baynes. “When he booked an island holiday as birthday gift, she came and took swimming lessons with me on the quiet.”

Overcoming anxiety

Many non-swimmers are anxious around aquatic environments. Sometimes they’re not even aware of their deep-seated fear until they arrive at the pool.

“Around a third of students in our Learn to Swim program have had some aquatic misadventure or water phobia,” Baynes says.

“By learning to swim, they regain a sense of themselves and feel confident walking along a beach, having a dip, attending a pool party. Swimming assists in developing trust in themselves and their ability, as well as trust in the water. The key is to have trust in your instructor.”

Swimming requires coordination and this is not always easy for myriad reasons.

“Often new swimmers struggle with proprioception – their awareness of their own body and movements,” Baynes explains.

“Swimming requires you to become aware of your body, your movements, your timing, and the ability to develop good spatial awareness of your position in the water in relation to others. Building coordination skills serves you well in many other sports and aspects of your life. Swimming is a technical skill.”

The social skills of sharing a class, a lane, or squad training sessions with others also builds connection to community. Swimming is not just a localised activity, although that is a key component to the sense of community. Swimmers globally connect at international swim meets, carnivals and on swimming trips.

“The sense of comradery amongst swimmers regardless of their level is the foundation for many strong friendships and relationships, which continue to endure over the years,” she says.

Improving employment opportunities

Knowing how to swim can also assist people attain their dream profession. Many industries and organisations require swimming as an integral component of application for recruitment. For example, the New South Wales Police Force, the Australian Defence Forces and even Sydney Water require a level of swimming and water safety ability.

“Many airlines require flight crew to be able to swim a set distance, as well as health

professionals working in hydrotherapy pools,” Baynes explains.

“I have had two non-swimmers start with me fearful of water, complete the journey and become a swim instructor and a surf lifesaver. A fabulous outcome!”

By learning to swim you can create a pathway to employment as a swim instructor, or pool lifeguard, and volunteering for organisations such as surf lifesaving. In the process of pursuing these pathways swimmers are given further education and training in subjects such as first aid and working with culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

“Many adult swimmers have always ‘hoped’ to learn to swim, but like me at the beginning, many have never got around to it, or found an accessible way to learn,” she says. “Usually there is a catalyst, a prompter, which sends someone to swimming classes; maybe an incident in the surf, an upcoming snorkelling holiday, a suggestion from a heath professional, or a request from a friend or family member to join them in classes.”

Baynes firmly believes that learning to swim can transform someone’s life.

“To learn a new physical skill later in life, which will not only save your own life, but open new doors to leisure and social activities as well as health regimes, is amazing. As the saying goes, no one ever regrets a swim,” she says.

Demand exceeding supply

Shawn Read from Shawn’s Swim School says people from non-swimming backgrounds typically don’t need to be educated about the importance of swimming, nor do they need much convincing.

“Usually, they come to the realisation themselves after enrolling their own children into swimming lessons and seeing their wonderful progression, and realising that their children’s aquatic skills have far surpassed their own,” he says.

Many adults want to enjoy time in the water with their children
“I think it take an amazing amount of courage for an adult to sign up for swimming lessons, but it’s well worth the journey.”
June/July 2024 SPLASH! 49 feature

“They usually realise one of two things – that learning to swim is a wonderful and rewarding experience, and that it is possible to learn these skills at any age. They also realise that if their children were enjoying the amazing waterways and pools we have in Australia, but somehow got into difficulties in the water, that they could not safely save them.”

Read says demand for adult swim classes is far exceeding supply in Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, where he operates.

“There are more adults wanting to learn to swim than there are facilities or staff available to teach them all,” he explains. “It’s easy to say we need to provide more facilities, but it’s not easy to find funding or staff to do so.”

Fear or embarrassment can be a significant barrier that prevents people from learning to swim.

“Many of these adults have grown up being warned about the dangers of water, but never got the opportunity to learn how to swim. They can have decades of built-up fear of the water, which worsens as the years progress,” he explains.

“I think it take an amazing amount of courage for an adult to sign up for swimming lessons, but it’s well worth the journey.”

Read says acquiring the skills necessary to swim spills into everyday life, which can have a positive

to teaching children, so swim teachers need to have a specific qualification for teaching swimming for adults.”

impact on a person’s social life and connection to their local community.

“We have seen so many friendships flourish between our adult students. Many from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, coming together, encouraging each other on their aquatic journey,” he says. “It takes a long time to learn to

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Branch: 13 Lieber Grove, Carrum Downs Jump! commenced adult classes at a select number of its swim schools last year, with more locations to follow in 2024

swim as an adult, and they progress at different rates, but the comradery I haveseen them share in these classes is a pleasure to behold.”

Becoming fitter is also an added bonus as swimming works your whole body, inside and out.

“Those recovering from injuries also benefit, as it is a low impact sport,” says Read. “Your body weight is supported by the water, and it is often the first exercise you can do when recovering from an injury.”

Learning resilience is also another great benefit. It can be slow going in the beginning, but once fears are overcome, and confidence and skills increase, the resilience of the learner pays off.

“Swim lessons involve much more than teaching someone how to swim,” he says. People also need to be educated about first aid and CPR, not propping open pool gates, and where and when to swim, etc. So, students should also come away from an adult swim lesson with this education as well.”

Essential community service

Last summer, swim school franchise group Jump! announced that adult classes were being offered by a select number of swim schools across its network, with more locations to follow in 2024.

The move was in response to Royal Life Saving

Australia (RLSS) research showing the top age groups for drownings is adults aged 25-34, 35-44 and 65-74.

Jump! CEO Mark Collins says offering classes to adults was a natural progression for the brand and a community service they were very excited to provide.

“There are many adults who don’t know how to swim or can’t swim well enough to keep themselves safe in the water – more than most people probably realise,” he explains.

“There are a range of reasons we’re discovering

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RLSS Australia data shows 60 per cent of adults in swimming lessons are female, despite males being over represented in drowning statistics

why this is the case, including an unaddressed fear of water, lack of family resources for lessons and immigration from countries where swimming lessons are not as common.”

With RLSS Australia data revealing that 60 per cent of adults in swimming lessons are female, despite males being over represented in drowning statistics, Collins is encouraging more men to come forward.

“We offer a very welcoming and encouraging environment and offer support to those adults who may not have any basic swim skills, or even have a fear of water,” he says.

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FAR LEFT: One of the Splash of Colour adult swim lessons being held at Maitland Council

LEFT: Learning to swim makes the student and their families much safer around water

Water safety and life skills

Maitland City Council aquatics program supervisor Kerry Paterson says adults need to be safe when living in a country surrounded by water.

“Teaching adults how to swim brings confidence in an otherwise uncomfortable environment,” she says.

“To engage with them is very easy – as a group they are very supportive of each other and can often be found cheering each other on throughout the class.”

Paterson says water safety and survival skills are key to any water-based program.

“For example, we need everyone to learn how to float in order to save themselves. And learning how to do sidestroke enables the swimmer to look where they are going, and have their head out of water and tow someone if needed.”

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to override making a commitment to enrol in lessons. Penny Larsen national manager of education at Royal Life Saving Society Australia, says that often the hardest part for an adult is taking the steps to enrol in an LTS class.

“It’s not fun sitting on the poolside, or at the water’s edge watching everyone else cooling off and enjoying in-water fun with friends and family,” she says.

“So, once they are over this first hurdle and are actually in the water, they realise there are many other adults who have the same fears and level of skill.”

It can be challenging to encourage adults to learn to swim as they may feel embarrassed, unfamiliar, or uncomfortable with pool facilities, and concerned they won’t be able to learn.

“For some adults they may have had a traumatic experience in water or culturally it’s not a common practice,” says Larsen.

Teachers should start the learn-to-swim experience by providing pre-commencement information on how to prepare for lessons, including what to bring, how the lessons will be conducted, and introducing the swim teacher and the learning outcomes.

“Opportunities to ask questions, visit the pool or meet the swim teacher before lessons commence

can help to eliminate any fears or preconceived ideas,” she says.

“Finding out about an individual’s previous experience, why they want to learn to swim and what they hope to achieve before lessons can aid the swim teacher in planning the lessons to meet all the participants’ needs.”

Conducting classes for specific communities, or with a group of friends can help encourage adults to join lessons.

“To encourage more adults to learn to swim, it’s important for swim teachers to have cultural awareness, be sensitive to adult’s fears, be flexible in their approach and take a slower pace,” she says.

Teaching adults to swim is completely different to teaching children, so swim teachers need to have a specific qualification for teaching swimming for adults, which will assist in understanding how adults learn and effective teaching strategies.

“Explaining skills in more detail and sharing underpinning knowledge aids understanding,” she says.

Two students explain why they took Shawn’s lessons, and what they achieved

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“It’s important for swim teachers to have cultural awareness, be sensitive to adult’s fears, be flexible in their approach and take a slower pace.”

“For example, explaining how body position in the water can impact the amount of resistance experienced and demonstrating this will help adults understand why it is important to have the head and body positioned to reduce resistance.”

Learning to swim, even later in life, is the ultimate safeguard against drowning.

“Learning swimming and water safety skills reduces the risk, equips adults with the knowledge of dangers in a range of aquatic environments, and provides preventative actions to keep safer when in, on and around water,” Larsen explains.

“Parents, carers, and grandparents must actively supervise children around water so knowing how to swim allows them to not only provide in-water bonding opportunities but the skills and knowledge to safely supervise or manage an emergency situation.”

Adult learn-to-swim classes are a vital intervention in reducing drowning rates in Australia. They provide essential skills, promote water safety, and help create a safer aquatic environment for all. By continuing to support and expand these programs, the aquatics industry can make significant strides in preventing drowning and saving lives. n


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From Pakistan to Balmoral

Imran Khalid is 43 and originally hails from Pakistan. He has been learning to swim with Different Strokes for eight months and has been improving each week.

“Swimming is a peaceful way to get away and an opportunity to meet amazing people,” he says.

“Different Stokes took my swimming skills to what I believed to be unimaginable for me. I didn’t think I could ever swim so comfortably and with ease.”

Khalid was inspired by his classmates who had competed in open water events, and eventually he felt his skills were up to it as well.

In March this year he swam in the Balmoral Swim for Cancer, completing the one kilometre open water course around the bay, into Sydney Harbour and back to Balmoral.

“I could never had done that without Different Strokes,” he says.

Swimming with peers

Rackley Swimming recently started managing Smithfield Pool in a suburb rich in ethnic diversity.

Chief operating officer Jay Clarke says they found that earlier experience of their adult learn-to-swim pupils was not very good, as they were lumped in with children.

“We’ve welcomed a lot of families who have older children 10-plus who are true nonswimmers. Sadly, we’ve heard stories that

in other swim schools they were put into lessons with kids as young as three for four.

“We know this can be damaging to selfesteem and confidence so we’ve adapted our levels to ensure these students and adults are able to learn alongside peers the same age to build their confidence as well as their skill,” he says.

Additionally, they established a team of instructors from a range of cultural

backgrounds to match the ethnic diversity of the area.

“More than half of our team are proud first or second generation Australian immigrants including Iraqi, Taiwanese, Malaysian, Bolivian, Fijian Indian, Indonesian, Laos-Thai and Turkish,” he says.

They also set up Friday women-only classes established particularly but not exclusively for Muslim women.

Photo by Rebecca Heron-Dowling
54 SPLASH! June/July 2024 feature
Using virtual reality as a tool for learning to swim. Image: Navitas
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