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Competitor AOAP Aquatic Professional of the Month

 

Competitor Aquatics Professional of the Month is a recurring AOAP feature shedding light on an Aquatics Professional who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Aquatics Professional of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one director whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a manager who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite aquatics director wasn’t selected, feel free to submit their name and information below for future consideration (they must be a member of AOAP to be considered).

May 2021 Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month

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Kate Connell

Kate Connell is Aquatics Program Supervisor for the City of Iowa City, Iowa. She has worked in the aquatics field for 15+ years sharing her passion for safety and leadership through staff management, development, and training. Kate is an advocate for equity in recreational water use and has brought free and reduced swimming lessons, bilingual water safety education, and accessible pool events to the diverse Iowa community where she lives. She leads as the chair-elect of the NRPA Aquatics Network, the chair of the IPRA Aquatics Committee, and a founding member of AOAP’s Diversity + Inclusion Committee. She has highlighted Iowa City’s advocacy in aquatics work through numerous virtual educational sessions at state association and national-level conferences including the National Recreation and Parks Association Conference (2020) and NDPA’s National Water Safety Conference (2021).

 

Kate is also the founder of Equitable Aquatics and provides education and training to aquatics professionals on the intersection of aquatics and social justice. The Equitable Aquatics Facebook group serves as a digital watercooler for those interested in integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into their leadership, programming, and pool policies. Through EA, Kate has partnered to speak at the 2021 Association of Aquatics Professionals Conference and Diversity in Aquatics Convention. Most recently, Kate is focusing on how to make first aid practices more inclusive and on creating digital resources for aquatics professionals to integrate DEI concepts into their staff training procedures.

 

About Competitor Swim

Since 1960, Competitor Swim® has been the leader in the production of racing lanes and other swim products for competitions around the world. Competitor lane lines have been used in countless NCAA Championships, as well as 10 of the past 13 Olympic Games. Molded and assembled using U.S. – made components, Competitor lane lines are durable, easy to set up and are sold through distributors and dealers worldwide.

Competitor Swim is an AOAP partner.

Submit a name to be considered for the Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month

  • Contact Information for the person being nominated:

Competitor Aquatics Professional of the Month is a recurring AOAP feature shedding light on an Aquatics Professional who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Aquatics Professional of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one director whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a manager who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite aquatics director wasn’t selected, feel free to submit their name and information below for future consideration (they must be a member of AOAP to be considered).

March 2021 Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month

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Craig Sears

Craig Sears is President and Owner of Sears Pool Management Consultants, a 24-year old firm specializing in the operation and management of commercial swimming pool facilities in the Metro Atlanta area.  Growing up in Atlanta, Craig swam competitively year-round from the age of 9 through college. Craig received a degree in Biology from Washington and Lee University and an MBA in Management from Georgia State University. With nearly 30 years experience in the aquatics industry, Craig has been a lifeguard, a swim coach, swim lesson instructor, pool manager, sales manager, and even a bartender before founding Sears Pool Management in 1997. Craig served as President of the GA Chapter of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals from 2012-2013, and continues to serve on the state Board of Directors.  In March 2012, Craig founded the non-profit Greater Atlanta Water Safety Alliance, a chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.  Its mission is to reduce drowning and the spread of RWIs by increasing water safety awareness through community seminars and events, and to be an advocate for recreational swimming and the sport of competitive swimming. Craig has achieved various aquatic designations and certifications including an APSP Certified Service Professional, APSP Certified Building Professional, NSPF Certified Pool Operator, American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor Trainer, NSPF Instructor, and an APSP course instructor. Craig received the prestigious APSP Fellows designation in 2018, and was awarded PHTA’s Certified Service Professional of the year for 2020. Craig is passionate about aquatics and seeks to better the industry in the areas of safety, professionalism, and minimizing environmental impact.

 

About Competitor Swim

Since 1960, Competitor Swim® has been the leader in the production of racing lanes and other swim products for competitions around the world. Competitor lane lines have been used in countless NCAA Championships, as well as 10 of the past 13 Olympic Games. Molded and assembled using U.S. – made components, Competitor lane lines are durable, easy to set up and are sold through distributors and dealers worldwide.

Competitor Swim is an AOAP partner.

Submit a name to be considered for the Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month

  • Contact Information for the person being nominated: