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).

November 2018 Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month

kelly martinez 2

Kelly Martinez - Aquatics Coordinator III -

Phoenix, AZ

I began lifeguarding when I was a junior in high school in 1986, never realizing that my summer job would eventually lead to an amazing career in Aquatics. I thought my career path was going to be in education, as I was a teacher for 10 years; however in 2001, my passion for my summer job lead to a full-time career in Aquatics.

Everything changed in 2011! My Perspective….Knowledge….Complacency. After attending the 2011 National Aquatic Conference and the 2012 AOAP Conference, I realized I needed to challenge the status quo because I had not been exposed to data outside of my current authorized provider or new trends in the industry. During this period, the City of Phoenix changed authorized providers to Starfish Aquatics Institute, which provided curriculum based on research and significantly changed my mindset.

I currently question anything in our profession based on, “this is how it has always been done.”  This has led to auditing everything and plugging the holes. The audits that have improved my team the most are the Mystery Shopper Audits, Manager on Deck, Guest Services, Shallow Water Blackouts and Baby Manikin Drops. I enjoy sharing information I’ve gathered and exposing other aquatic professionals to another perspective. This has led to many opportunities for me to present at conferences nationally and internationally.

As a co-founder of the website, Lifeguards Love YouTube, I continue to impact professionals around the world with a resource to supplement training.

I enjoy creating better methods to train our aquatics team.  For example, with lifeguarding, this has led to working with the City of Scottsdale in the development of making foaming manikins and finding products that allow victims to foam when rescued.  I also partnered with Jill White, the founder of SAI, to develop Time on Task evaluation forms to help better evaluate swim lesson classes.

I am not a proponent of “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” There is always room for improvement and I challenge everyone to look for it.


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: