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).
September 2019 Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month
Jenna Stevenson, AqP, Aquatics Superintendent, City of Baytown Parks and Recreation, Texas
Jenna Stevenson began swimming before she could walk; growing up, she spent summers in the backyard pool, and winters at the local YMCA. As a competitive swimmer who looked up to her lifeguard older brother, Jenna took her ARC lifeguard class the week of her fifteenth birthday. After becoming a lifeguard, swim instructor, USA swim coach, and collegiate swimmer, Jenna stepped away from swimming to pursue her other passion, computer programming. However, as most aquatics professionals know, a lifelong love of swimming doesn’t easily die; in 2010, Jenna returned to the water as a Waterfront Director with Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio - Camp Timberlane.
Since 2010 Jenna has worked in aquatics in three different states and added a few letters behind her name. After Camp Timberlane, Jenna’s career took her to St. Ignatius High School in Ohio. From there she became an aquatics department head, learn to swim/program coordinator and event director in the DFW area of Texas. She then took a quick trip to Parker, Colorado as an aquatics program coordinator before accepting her current title: aquatics superintendent for the City of Baytown, Texas.
As the learn to swim/program coordinator for the City of Denton, Jenna’s programs received a few awards and state recognitions. In 2015 Jenna’s team was awarded the Texas Public Pool Council Aquatic Safety Program of the Year for their Aquatic Explorer Camp. In 2016 they won the Texas Recreation & Park Society North Region Excellence in Programming for Aquatic Explorer Camp and the 2016 Texas Public Pool Council Special Event of the Year for their Water Works Triathlon and Splash N Dash. The Water Works Triathlon and Splash N Dash was started in 2016, and has recently completed its fourth year. As a USAT Race Director, Jenna secured a grant for the Splash N Dash that added the race to the USAT National Splash N Dash series that encouraged kids of all ages to race in multi-sport events. Since 2016 the kids portion of the race has grown from a Splash N Dash to Youth Triathlon and attracted kids from all over the state to participate in the race.
In 2018, Jenna moved to the Town of Parker, Colorado. During her time in Parker, the parks and recreation department received their CAPRA accreditation and was working towards (and later achieved through a victory at the 2019 Colorado State Lifeguard Games) being the number one guard staff in the state. Jenna learned a great deal during her ten months in the Town of Parker, and will be forever grateful for everything Aquatics Supervisor, Bryan Gentillini, AqP, taught her.
As the aquatics superintendent with the City of Baytown, Jenna oversees 400+ staff at two water park facilities that total more than 4 acres with 14 slides, resort-style lazy river, wave pool, and a Flow Rider. During the off season the aquatics team also runs the Town Square Outdoor Ice Rink. (Yes, there is an outdoor ice rink in Texas!) Since arriving in Baytown, Jenna has made many changes to the organization and is looking forward to many more in the years to come. Jenna implemented shallow water guards at her facility in order to combat the lifeguard shortage, grew the swim lesson program by 60% by certifying all instructors, ran all blended learning lifeguard classes to allow her staff more time to offer more guard classes, and increased revenue in the Pirate’s Bay gift shop by selling unique souvenir cups and snack items. Jenna and her team are currently working on a large-scale project that will eventually put Pirate’s Bay Water Park on the map, and they couldn’t be more excited; the next two years in Baytown will be packed to the brim with designing park expansions and face lifts as each of Baytown’s aquatics facilities approach their ten-year anniversaries (Pirates Bay in 2020 and Calypso Cove in 2021).
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.