For Jennifer White, swimming is all in the family. As a child, she was introduced to competitive swimming through a cousin who was an elite swimmer on the national level.
As an adult, she is part of the Starfish
Aquatics Institute family — literally and as the SAI
director of operations and swim school specialist. Most recently,
she has been instrumental in the company’s newest endeavor, a
partnership with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.
Following her cousin, White started swimming competitively at 11.
She discovered a love of teaching at age 13, when she began helping
out with swim lesson instruction.
Her last swim coach was Robbin White, who co-founded SAI with his
wife, Jill, in 1999. Jennifer began working with SAI in 2001. At
that time, she was program coordinator at the Chatham County
Aquatic Center SAI used the facility to introduce its Starfish
Swimming learn-to-swim program.
During that time, Jennifer was introduced to Lake White, Robbin and
Jill’s son. The two are now married, with two young
White, 31, was an integral part of the successful launch of
Starfish Swimming, and in 2005 she became national director. In
2007 she facilitated a partnership between SAI and USA Swimming to
help kick off the Make a Splash initiative. She developed the
program for a water safety event in Atlanta, which has become a
model for other local Make a Splash events, and SAI training
White also started an aquatic fitness program for homeschoolers
that is now part of SAI.
“Pools around the country are suffering from budget
cuts,” she says. “They need quality programming, and
that motivates me.”
White believes that for aquatics operations to remain strong,
innovation is key, and she counts Jill White as an important mentor
in that endeavor. “She works harder than anyone I know, and
she has taught me to go beyond what’s expected,” says
Jennifer, a graduate of Armstrong Atlantic State University in
This year, she’ll be working closely with Jill, launching new
resources through the strategic partnership with PADI. The SAI
curriculum will be the foundation of the PADI Swim School. PADI
Americas’ newest education program is set to be rolled out at
more than 1,720 dive shops and resorts.