Interview with Chris Goodwin, Owner of Aquanite Software for Aquatic Clubs

Joan Gould
Water Polo Planet
09/01/10

Chris GoodwinI recently received an email ad from a startup company names Aquanite talking about a new software solution for aquatic club management.  Not only did I look at the ad, but I clicked through to the website and spent some time taking a look at what they have.

I was intrigued.

It has long been my belief that one of our failures in Water Polo is the expectation that our coaches do it all…travel agent, web designer and programmer, scheduling and pool maintenance and payroll clerk. Oh…and by the way, some coaching in your spare time.

Anyone who could successfully complete all these tasks at an expert level would be wearing a cape and tights. Unrealistic? You bet it is.

Now comes Aquanite with a club management system that will take the place of expertise in several of these areas…and free up the coach to do what he CHOSE to do…coach water polo.

I urge all coaches and clubs to take a look at what Aquanite can offer you. They have a great program, fantastic support and the ability to make your club shine.

Q: Where did Aquanite come from? 

A: Growing up and being involved with water polo and swimming from a young age to the college level and also being a coach I always felt there was something missing in the aquatic community as far as the technological aspect was concerned. I still remember as a senior in high school I was dying to know who made the all-conference team and there was no place I could go to find out. I just had to wait out the weekend and ask the coach after school on Monday. It was instances like these that helped develop the roots of what Aquanite is today. A few years later with a developed inner geek I connected with my past coach and USA Water Polo Hall of Famer Brent Bohlender who had a need for a way to easily manage his website and better communicate with his members thus was the conception of Aquanite.

Q: Aquanite is being used by small to large programs, locally and internationally from Canada to Europe, from new coaches to Olympic coaches and all in between.

A: Here are a few links to some of our teams:
Davis Water Polo Club: http://daviswaterpolo.aquanite.com/
Tigers Aquatics: http://tigerswaterpolo.aquanite.com/tiger-aquatics/
Sharks Water Polo: http://sharkswaterpolo.aquanite.com/
Neptunes Water Polo: http://neptuneswaterpolo.aquanite.com/

Q: Water Polo can be a bit of a fire drill with last minute changes and cancellations. Does your program have any way to help manage schedule changes and rain delays without coaches having to make 50 phone calls?

A: Aquanite will change the way coaches currently communicate not only with their members but their community. The home page of an Aquanite website is designed to relay a) What has just gone on with the program b) What is currently/next thing going on with the community and this information can be changed in a matter of seconds. Aquanite also offers easy communication to specific groups within an organization.

Q: Most kids pay monthly dues and tournament entry fees that can be a real pain in the butt to bill and track.  Can your system help clubs do this without having to play bill collector, accountant and bookkeeper?

A: Absolutely, with just a few clicks you can send a bill to a specific member or entire group where they can then pay you electronically via PayPal (the system also handles on deck payments). After payment, Aquanite automatically organized the information and gives you the option to export it to a spreadsheet if you prefer a hardcopy.

Q: Do you have a telephone help desk that people can call if they get stuck trying to do something to their website and are ready to toss their computer through a window?

A: With Aquanite you will never get to that point, it is the easiest to use program on the market! Aquanite was designed specifically for the typical water polo and swimming coach. In the event you are ready to give your computer a toss there are help videos on every topic you would come across and on top of that there is an integrated Help Desk that notifies multiple Aquanite staff members allowing for fast effective assistance should a question arise.

Q: USAWP gives clubs and zones a free website on Club Spaces.  What are the advantages for a club to use your program?

Chris GoodwinHere are some advantages for a club to use our program:

  • Aquanite is created specifically for Aquatic programs

  • There are no annoying and inappropriate advertisings

  • Aquanite integrates with Facebook, YouTube and Flickr

  • We handle billing/dues with PayPal

  • Easier to use software

  • Immediate Help Desk support for clients AND assistant coaches

  • We create a custom theme that guarantees to be one of the best looking websites out there.

  • Just a call away to help with anything you need.

  • Constantly improving Aquanite coming out with water polo and swimming specific tools as frequent as every two weeks!

Q: What about advertising?  A lot of clubs currently belong to Club Spaces which has ads all over their site but they don’t get a dime for any of them.  If clubs want to have the option to sell advertising space to local companies and businesses, can your program provide that help?

A: A complaint I get a lot from coaches is the advertising on Club Space sites and how they have no control over them. After all this is a site kids are going to be visiting heavily and if Viagra, yes Viagra is flashing all over the screen (I have had multiple coaches tell me this) this is nowhere near appropriate for the demographic they service. Aquanite does not put advertising on your site rather it allows the team to put their own sponsors up to help raise money for their team.

Q: How do upgrades work? 

A: Some features we design ourselves, but most are suggested by our clients and coaches. In either case, the CoachPress system is a never ending work-in-progress. We add new features (as frequent as every two weeks) with each upgrade, and these new features are available to all clients automatically. 

Clients don't have to install anything or pay additional upgrade fees; upgrades are handled automatically and announced on our blog once available. 

Q: Why are you constantly coming out with new updates?

A: As-is, Aquanite is the best service on the market. Most of our new features can't be found in our competitor's services. However, the web is evolving at an astounding pace. Every day new technologies and services are emerging. The only way to maintain a cutting-edge system is to adapt and evolve along with the web itself. 

This is why the monthly subscription model makes more sense for Aquanite; rather than expecting our clients to install and upgrade complicated software, we handle everything for them. Bottom line: with Aquanite not only will you get a cutting-edge system, but that system will remain cutting-edge two or three years from now. 

Q: I share my pool with a swimming program which has Masters and age group. Would it be possible for us to share one program (to save money) and have everything in one place?

A: Yes, one of the many powers of Aquanite is how easy and organized it can be used for multiple programs.

Q: So we all want to know…what is your personal ratio of water polo stud to techno-geek?

A: If you had asked me this question a few years ago I might have said “What techno-geek?”, but now I would have to say it’s 40/60, as it pains me to say, 60% geek!

Q: If a club already has a website but wants to move to your program, how big a headache will it be to move all of the content?

A: We make the transfer effortless. With an excel/spreadsheet importer of all your membership data that will immediately move over to your new Aquanite platform and if you need any additional assistance we are more than happy to help transfer your site!

Q: How often do you go swimming?

A: Chris- Since college I have stayed active in both masters water polo and swimming it just feels uncomfortable to not be around a pool-It’s like the whole fish out of water thing.

A: Josh (lead programmer) - These days I prefer the Atlantic Ocean. As a matter of fact, I am waiting for the next swell to hit Wednesday so I can finally catch some waves. But even on dead days I like to paddle out and get some exercise. 

Chis Goodwin and FriendsQ: There are no costs mentioned on your website which lead us to believe that it is millions of dollars.   Can you give us a range of what coaches can expect to spend per month depending on their clubs needs?

A: Aquanite’s key objective is to help grow the Aquatic community one program at a time. We don’t put pricing on our website because we can’t expect a program with 40 members to pay the same as a program with 400. I can tell you it is only a small monthly fee probably far less than your cell phone bill.

Q: What's Next For Aquanite?

A: Aquanite is currently working on the world’s first water polo specific stat tracking system that will automatically give coaches percentages on the spot and update season stats with a single click. Keeping with cutting edge technology an iPhone and iPad application will be developed to create ease of use on the pool deck. We are also working on creating a scholarship fund for all water polo and swimming members giving back to the community that has given us so much!