The new president of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance has a plan. That includes jump starting a spirit of collaboration to attack an issue close to his heart.

“Drowning is such a complex problem,” Adam Katchmarchi says. “We need to start working together; we need to be sharing resources and information ...”

Making a Difference

Adam Katchmarchi has made it his mission to help reduce drowning rates. He expects his organization, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, and its partners to make a difference -- and the 2017 NDPA Conference will play a big part. It will be very different from previous ones, he says.

“We don’t need to create another curriculum or coloring book - we want to get groups working,” he says.

Held in conjunction with USA Swimming Foundation, the gathering will include a meeting of all NDPA’s partners the day before. A representative from each organization will give a five-minute talk, sharing who their group is and what they will do about drowning in the coming year. Some will be surprised to learn what others are doing -- maybe it’s something they were thinking about, Katchmarchi says. He predicts that networking and an exchange of ideas will occur organically.

This passion goes back years. Though Katchmarchi hoped to become a TV news journalist growing up, he also thought it’d be fun to be a lifeguard. “I fell in love with it!” he says.

It showed. He became a head lifeguard and certified Red Cross CPR/first aid instructor in his teens. As a student, he was president of the university’s NDPA chapter. In 2012, he became the youngest AI Power Issue honoree at 21. Already, he was devoted to drowning prevention, regardless of his career path.

Katchmarchi obtained a B.S.Ed. in health and PE, with a minor in aquatics from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, then an M.S. in sport management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in kinesiology from West Virginia University.

He never forgot NDPA and, at age 23, joined its board. Now, besides serving as NDPA president, he’s also an instructor at IUP. His work allows him to focus on three distinct endeavors: teach future aquatics professionals; conduct research; and get out into aquatic environments. “It’s extremely rewarding every day,” Katchmarchi says.