We’ve all heard that what you
get out of something is determined by what you put into it. At the
University of Rhode Island, they put a whole lot into their pools:
sail boats, scuba equipment, mechanical submarines, kayaks,
manikins and — oh, yeah — people. Lots of
Aquatic Center is home to the men’s and women’s varsity
swimming and diving teams, club teams such as water polo and
synchronized swimming, and collegians in general. But it is also
the aquatic home to many Rhode Islanders.
“We have a strong outreach program,” says Ted Boyett,
coordinator of aquatics.
Boyett’s arrival in 1995, not only had there been no aquatics
director at URI in nearly a quarter of a century, but there also
were virtually no programs of consequence.
Now, there is
a remarkable array of options, beginning with the fairly standard
classes for kids and seniors in a 75-foot, four-lane, warm water
pool (there are two other pools in the complex, one for diving, the
other for competition). But there also is quite the eclectic
collection of possibilities for both students and
The school has a strong sailing
program, with practices in the pool. There are scuba and snorkel
training, kayak lessons. The annual Super CPR/AED Saturday has
staff educating the community. Even miniature submarine races
occur; a few years back, a group of URI engineers won the
International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition.
There’s a class teaching pool operation to homeowners. And
there’s even an annual Ice Safety Day, with local
firefighters demonstrating ice rescues both in the pool and a
nearby campus pond.
probably generate a quarter to a third of a million dollars”
a year, says Boyett. Of course, “some of that has to go back
to pay for teachers, people who run the programs,” many of
whom are students.
students are wonderful. They love to work with the
For all the
fancy programming URI offers, students and others have ample time
to just stop by for a dip.
“We’ve got a facility.
… I like to have people here,” Boyett says. “We
have a lifeguard on duty from 7 in the morning till 9:30 at night.
An adult can come in anytime to swim except 3 to