It wasn’t that long ago that Adam Katchmarchi was just a water baby who spent his summers dreaming about the day he would be old enough to be a lifeguard.

Today, that dream has become a reality, and then some. At 21, Katchmarchi is perhaps the youngest-ever Aquatics International Power 25 honoree, and if his credentials thus far are any indication, it’s a sure bet the Slippery Rock University senior will have many more industry accolades coming to him in the future.   

Katchmarchi, a Pennsylvania native, is majoring in physical education and says he chose to attend Slippery Rock because of what it offers in aquatics. But even before he set foot on campus, Katchmarchi was already pretty well-educated.

He began lifeguarding at Reynoldsville (Pa.) Community Swimming Pool and was named head guard within three years. At 16 he became a certified Red Cross CPR and first aid instructor, and at 17 he became certified and began teaching as a water safety instructor.

Currently, Katchmarchi is a certified Red Cross lifeguard instructor trainer, and founding president of the Slippery Rock University Aquatics and Scuba Club, which also is the first such chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance He first became involved with NDPA when Slippery Rock University helped host NDPA’s annual symposium in 2010. He was a scholarship recipient to attend the 2011 symposium.

Bob Ogoreuc, assistant professor in the SRU Physical Education Department, was co-chair of the 2010 NDPA symposium and helped bring the conference to Slippery Rock. Katchmarchi counts him as a key mentor and says it’s been the support of Ogoreuc and others that has helped “slingshot” him into the field.

“No matter which way I go after graduation, I want to be involved in drowning prevention,” Katchmarchi says. He hasn’t made any firm decisions yet, but ultimately hopes to make his mark in aquatics by furthering the level of professionalism and integrity among lifeguards and swim instructors.