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Meet Our Speaker

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Chair of aquatic exercise 

Katrien Lemahieu |  Belgium 

Education with Movement Recreation, she graduated with a Special Movement Education Level for Motorical Remedial Teaching and Behaviour for pediatrics. Katrien likes to expand and explore: as well (aquatic) fitness as (aquatic) therapy is her main focus on a teaching level worldwide. She is an International Trainer Specialist for AEA, member of the Advisory Committee of AEA, an AiChi MasterTrainer, has a post-bachelor certificate in aquatic therapy trough NPI (Europe) and is ATRI Certified (USA). She developed 3 e-learning programs on aquatic fitness (AquaMagicMoves) and is CEO of two educational institutes: Kataqua for Aquatic Fitness and ProOZo for swimming. She is the organizer of European Aquatic Fitness Conference (EAFC), where knowledge and experience come together.  She is the HeadTrainer of Aquastrength Europe, and co-developed the HydroRevolution Pprogram; a strong and high intens program with unique resistance equipment. . She also developped the new and exciting program, called BioExercise, that has a focus on ‘Sharpen the Mind, Strengthen the Body’, together with Laurie Denomme (WeCoach, USA).  Katrien holds 2 European AquaEmma Awards for ‘best lecturer at EAFC Germany’, was selected as ‘best presenter’, was awarded with the Tsunami Spirit Award by ATRI (June 2018) and ended in the top3 ‘personality of the year’ in 2017 & 2018 & 2019. She was number one in 2019!  Katrien is known for creativity, charisma and organization skills. She is talented in both practical and the business field and is loved around the world by many. 


Her focus is to connect people through movement, with a focus on looking for possiblities and searching challenges. "It is my dream to help all to enjoy everything that’s right for the body and mind, rather than teach you to fear everything that might not work. Train to get better and seek for the best only!"

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Member of Scientific Committee 

Mick Nelson |  USA

Consultant for USA Swimming 

Mick and Sue Wife & husband/business partner formed their own swim club and built their own indoor facility in Danville, Illinois in 1972.  In1974 they formed Nelson’s Swim Supply, a retail and wholesale pool/spa and aquatic equipment business.  In 1982 they formed NSS Inc., an aquatic facility design, building, and business consultation to the aquatic industry. 


In 1994 they formed WaterWay Therapy Inc. which was one of the first and only privately owned and operated Medicare approved outpatient Aquatic Physical Therapy centers in the country. 


In 2001 they formed Poolside Health & Wellness Center which became not only the home for the USA Swim Club, Water Way Therapy, and Swim America learn-to-swim program but a full-service land and water community health and wellness center. In 2004 they both went to work for USA Swimming to develop the USA Swimming Facilities Department.


Mick’s specialty is business development, programming, water treatment and aquatic facility design. Sue’s specialty is aquatic programming.

Business Experiences

  • Handling multiple cost centers and formerly responsible for a $1,200,000.00 annual budget

  • Dealing with Architects and Design & Build Contractors

  • Dealing with Professional Pool Consultants

  • Working with pool equipment distributors and manufactures

  • In management and formation of 501.c.3 non-profit organizations

  • In working with and presenting to Park Districts and Government Agencies

  • In design and development of both small and multi-functional aquatic facilities

  • In development of business plans and proformas

  • In working on non-profit boards and financing entities

  • In program design including but not limit to:

  • Competitive swimming, Learn-to-swim, Adult Exercise – Aquatic & Land based – Special Population Exercise – Aquatic Therapy both private based and Medical Based – Pool Leasing opportunities 

  • Developed and conducted conferences, schools and seminars for ATRI, AEA, MFA and Local Swim Committees

  • 2008 Developed the Drowning Report that is now shared in the water safety industry

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Sue Nelson |  USA

Consultant for USA Swimming 

Sue Nelson worked as the Aquatic Programming Specialist for USA Swimming providing resources and information for members, potential members for 15 years. She holds a BS in Exercise Science and her specialty areas are program development, implementation and facility design.  Sue was the recipient of AEA’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019 she received the NDPA Lifetime Achievement Award and she has received the Tsunami Spirit Award presented by ATRI. 


She was elected in 2009 to the Board of Directors of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and serves on the Education Committee of Aquatic Exercise Association.


Sue has been presenting for over 20 years at all the different aquatic conferences including topics on: Learn to swim to aquatic exercise to aquatic therapy to competitive swimming. ATRI, AEA, USSSA, AOAP, NDPA as well as presenting at 6 Build a Pool conferences every year since 2004.  


Coaching alongside her husband in the family business Sue is an ASCA level 4 swim-coach and has extensive experience in business and aquatic management. She and her husband were on the founding board of NSSA now known as the USSSA.  Her second career as a certified Aquatic Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer helped her with training licensed Physical Therapist in their privately-owned Outpatient Therapy Center. 


Sue now works to cultivate Aquatic Industry Partnerships with national aquatic service organizations. Sue is the resource for programming information for both USA Swimming members and members of partner organizations. She develops and publishes new program information as it relates to Total Aquatic Programming.  Assist the USA Swimming Facilities Department in the planning and development of new aquatic facilities and provides the programming that makes an aquatic center self-sustaining.  

Member of Scientific Committee 


Member of Scientific Committee 

Laurie Denomme | United States

Kinesiologist, Fellow of Applied Functional Science


Laurie is an international fitness educator with 30 years experience in aquatics.  Recognized for her innovative approach to exercise, Laurie is the recipient of the 2014 ATRI Tsunami Spirit Award and 2013 AEA Global Aquatic Fitness Professional Award.  She is the founder of WECOACH and creator of international brand Wavemakers®, an innovative, engaging and proven curriculum helping people around the world to move and feel better.


Laurie is a contributing author to training manuals for professionals, including the AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual and AEA Arthritis Foundation Program Leader Guide.  She has collaborated with industry experts to develop new exercise formats, including AquaStretch™, HIYO™ and BioExercise™.

Over the last 15 years, Laurie has presented at industry conferences including IDEA, DCAC, IAFC, Canfitpro and internationally in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Dubai and Japan.


Ruth Sova, M.S., an internationally known speaker, author and consultant, and is the recipient of many awards including CNCA's Merit Award, both AAPHERD's Honor and Service Awards, the Commemorative First Presidential Sports Award in Aquatic Exercise, and the Sevier - MaCahill Disability International Award.


Sova founded the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute, Inc. (ATRI) a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the professional development of health care professionals involved with aquatic therapy.  She is founder and past president of the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA).


Ruth has authored over 170 articles, has written eighteen books, and has produced over 50 DVDs and CDs

Ruth Sova | United States

Founder of Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute, Inc. (ATRI)

Founder and past president of the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA)

Member of Scientific Committee 

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