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Professionals unite to strengthen aquatic fitness management

Professionals unite to strengthen aquatic fitness management
March 23, 2023

A new group of three leading aqua experts who share an interest in promoting, recognising and celebrating aqua fitness as an effective exercise modality are looking to maximise the potential of aqua - workforce, programming and professionalism.

Launched this month, the Aqua Alliance was born during the lockdowns when Dom Gili, Jenn Schembri-Portelli (‘JSP’) and Marietta Mehanni came together to talk about all things ‘aqua’.

Aqua Alliance co-founder JSP, has played an active role in the aquatics industry for many years and said the time was right for the sector to work together to ensure future success for all who choose to deliver and program aqua classes.

She explains “Covid created havoc in our industry, but it also gave us the opportunity to look at innovative ways of working together to re-boot and revive the sector.

“I watched two agile entrepreneurs in Marietta Mehanni and Dom Gili pivot their already successful businesses to suit lockdown learning professionally and proficiently.”

By combining their diverse skills, experience and approaches, this group is poised to achieve a greater impact and positive outcomes.

Their platform will offer a space for industry professionals to share ideas and collaborate on creating a strong workforce at an upcoming Aqua Industry Forum (to be held at the Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre in Sydney on 20th October) and high quality professional development opportunities for instructors.

Mehanni, a renowned mentor and educator in the aqua community, brings experience to Aqua Alliance and demonstrates the positive flow-on effects that supporting Aqua Exercise Instructors (AEI) can have on health and fitness benefits for class participants.

Excited that on-line mentoring groups will have the opportunity to meet face to face to share knowledge and practise the routines in and out of water, she advises “Aqua Alliance has been clear from the beginning, AquaSummit was to feature engaging speakers connected to the concept of exercising in water and the focus to be on hands-on learning for each session.

“As educators in this space, Aqua Alliance recognises that instructors learn best through active participation and practical applications - knowledge delivered during lectures will be complemented to skill practise in the impressive pool facilities at Gunyama.”

AUSactive latest industry survey found that demand for AEIs continues to exceed supply as the growth for aqua classes rise, also revealing that 80% of respondents had spent more than 10 years as an AEI; 62% of businesses indicated that finding skilled staff had been difficult and 38% of program managers/coordinators had challenges with increasing pool space for extra classes.

With a background of working with the global aqua community, Gili brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Aqua Alliance.

He explains “as a group, Aqua Alliance analysed the challenges that management and employers are facing due to the decline in the aqua workforce and the increase in members joining classes.

“We understand that it’s so important to bring all levels of the industry sector to discuss the current landscape and prepare for the future for aqua in our venues.”

The Aqua Industry Forum will be held on the Friday prior to AquaSummit weekend and features sessions led by speakers who are well-versed in the aqua topics, providing practical insights and strategies for health and fitness managers, coordinators, pool owners and contractors to implement in their respective organisations.

The trio are thrilled to be able to offer this event on Australian soil, stating “our ultimate goal is to foster an inclusive and collaborative environment where individuals at all levels of our sector can come together to share expertise and shape the potential and future of aqua - after all with all the aquatic infrastructure on the drawing board it now becomes a necessity.”

Click here for more information about the Alliance, the Industry Forum and the AquaSummit, or email Dom, JSP and or Marietta at

Click here for more information on the AquaSummit in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.

Images: Main image courtesy of Shutterstock with Aqua Alliance co-founders Jenn Schembri-Portelli (middle) and Dom Gili (below, credit: Aqua Fitness Online).

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