Starfish Aquatics Institute founder Jill White knows she’s in a position to make a difference. It’s a position she’s earned with more than 30 years in aquatics, first as a lifeguard and swim instructor during high school followed by several years working with Jeff Ellis. In 2000, she founded Starfish Aquatics. Most recently, she became the director of education for Human Kinetics.
Today, her primary goal is for all the different aquatics agencies to reach a consensus on standards and regulations that govern facilities and practices. Once these standards are in place, she hopes to teach supervisors and managers through a training plan that incorporates online and in-pool work. The program provides all the necessary training at a fraction of the cost of traveling to conferences, she says.
In addition, White wants to train the patrons. By clearly defining the role of lifeguards, she hopes to put an end to them acting as babysitters. “Too many parents view the pool as a place for their kids to hang out without supervision,” she says.
She also wantsto teach patron responsibility with regard to shallow-water diving and shallow-water blackout through the same delivery methods.
Even with those tools, White knows she’ll need cooperation from other aquatics groups. But she’s confident she can win them over. “Aquatics is so big and so varied that there’s more than enough for all of us to do, and we’re barely scratching the surface,” she says. “The more we can work together, the more we can be on the same page… the better it is for all of us