In a surprise announcement today, APSP and NSPF said they were ending efforts aimed toward the unification promised in April of 2016. At that time, the two organizations declared that they would join together for the good of the industry, providing new focus for advocacy efforts.

Over the months since the initial declaration that the groups would merge, speculation has grown as to the shape of the new combined organization. In August the two boards hired AH, a professional services firm, to lead the unification process, and in November at PSP Expo, leaders from the NSPF and APSP joined on the same stage to reiterate their commitment to the merger.

However, today APSP and NSPF backed away from the challenge of combining two organizations, stating that although they will continue as separate entities, they will look for opportunities for collaboration.

"After reviewing the discovery information and recognizing the work and financial investment required to create one unified organization, the APSP and NSPF boards have decided to align their efforts, where both entities will still remain independent, but the collaboration and synergy between the organizations will be enhanced," their joint statement read.

APSP Board Chairman Jack Manilla and NSPF Board President G. Bruce Dunn added: “Both Boards have been diligent, transparent, and tireless in their respective efforts to create a path forward.  From the beginning of this process, the goal was to create more swimmers, more swimming pools and more hot tubs that will allow users to gain from the health benefits of swimming activity, aquatic immersion, and hydrotherapy. Although the outcome is not of one unified organization, both APSP and NSPF recognize and embrace that this is the time to create accelerated change through enhanced collaborative efforts.”

In essence, the status quo will remain. NSPF will continue to focus on healthy living through swimming while APSP’s focus will continue to be protecting the industry through government relations and standards. Both organizations will continue to offer education.

“We will continue to invest in building stronger relationships with the APSP organization and leadership with the hope that one day we will be able to complete this journey,” said Dunn. Manilla agreed adding, “A shared belief in the power of partnerships and putting our members and consumers of water at the center of everything we do is embedded in our respective cultures, and we are looking forward to collaborating on more initiatives together in 2017.”