Founder: Joe Stilwell
Hydrathletics founder Joe Stilwell was born with a love for athletics.
As a competitive volleyball player, he was no stranger to the dynamic, high-impact exercises that dominated traditional athletic conditioning. Joe loved plyometric training but understood that this type of explosive conditioning can cause joint deterioration over time.
How It All Began
One fateful day, Joe was exercising in his neighbor’s pool when he was struck with inspiration. Pool training was just as difficult as training on land, but with several key advantages:
- The water’s buoyancy kept his body aloft and minimized stress on his joints;
- Underwater activity provided natural, full-body resistance.
He spent some time mulling over these ideas before coming to a realization.Underwater training could be highly effective for athletic conditioning; but beyond that, it offered near-optimal conditions for post-operative rehabilitation, sports injury recovery, and general mobility training.
This idea marked the birth of what would eventually become Hydrathletics: Joe Stilwell’s vision for an industry-leading aquatic therapy training center.
There was only one problem: Joe was still in high school.
Driven by this inspiration, Joe committed himself to the study of athletic performance. He attended Dalhousie University and majored in kinesiology—the science of exercise physiology. He went on to complete a thesis in plyometric training to better understand how different training modalities affect the body.
Joe had the knowledge—now he needed the equipment.
While researching his thesis, he connected with the pool manufacturer HydroWorx® and remained in contact with their team as he began his professional career. HydroWorx® provided Joe with all the support and information he needed to bring his vision to life. Most importantly, HydroWorx® pool technology allows for cutting-edge aquatic therapy:
- Innovative underwater treadmills that replicate the biomechanics of land-based motion
- Customizable treadmill speeds and resistance jets to accommodate patients of varying mobility levels
- Expansive aquatic environments that include built-in stairs and removable handrails for easy accessibility
All the pieces had come together, and in 2012, the first Hydrathletics clinic opened in Kingston, ON. In 2016, a second clinic opened in Ottawa, ON. Joe’s goal is to bring the benefits of aquatic therapy across Canada, and with the help of amazing business partners, talented staff and supportive communities, he continues to strive for that goal every day.
Why Aquatic Therapy?
Our aquatic therapy services provide an environment for controlled rehabilitation that occurs entirely under water. This means that patients enjoy the same results as land-based training in a low-impact setting that’s easy on the body.