Lessons Learned

  • Graphic by Tim Bobko

    Watching for Trouble

    We practice real-life simulation trainings at all of our in-service sessions.

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    Drowning in Red Tape

    I pride myself on a willingness to experiment, so when our human resources analyst presented an opportunity to work with a nonprofit employment placement agency, I was excited to try something new.

  • Called Out

    I’m an early riser, so on the Saturday in question I was sitting on my couch watching TV and sipping my second cup of coffee, when suddenly we lost power at 8 a.m. 

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    Power Scrubbing 

    Promoting someone before they are prepared is a mistake many managers make. It happens even more often in aquatics because of the youthful seasonal staffs, which make up the majority of our work force. I learned the hard way what can develop when this occ

  • Planting an Idea

    An operator takes a chance and turns a patron complaint into a new opportunity for her and his facility.

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    Planting an Idea

    We all have patrons who complain. Many times we’ve heard the same issue hundreds of times and are not listening or we are distracted.

  • Graphic by Tim Bobko

    To the Rescue

    Few jobs are as challenging and emotionally rewarding as being an aquatics director.

  • Where There’s Smoke

    It was a hot August day at The Cove Waterpark in Riverside, Calif. — but it was about to get much hotter.

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    Spectators Gone Wild! 

    Back in the mid-1980s, I was asked to develop and implement a K-12 swim lessons program for the school system.

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    Collision Course

    I was hired five months before the crew completed construction of the university’s new aquatics center, so I could make sure everything was good from an operator’s standpoint.

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    Candid Camera 

    These days, social media encompasses every aspect of life. It also allows adolescents and teens to be expressive.

  • Graphic by Tim Bobko

    Emergency Action

    On the 70th day of a 79-day season, what most of us thought was a regular Sunday at Saxon Woods Pool in White Plains, N.Y., turned into a day we would never forget.

  • Graphic by Tim Bobko

    Time Crunch

    I began my aquatic management career opening a new Boys & Girls Club pool facility in a small community near my hometown in East Texas.

  • Graphic by Tim Bobko

    Don’t Sweat It

    It was a weekday afternoon when the intercom came on. “Kathy, there’s a guy down here in the main pool swimming in a sweat suit.

  • Graphic by Tim Bobko

    Phone a Friend

    We were 30 minutes away from draining our 200,000-gallon aquatic center pool

  • Graphic by Tim Bobko

    Floating a Solution

    We had just opened a brand-new aquatics facility. Week one had come and gone with no major catastrophes.

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    Parting the Clouds

    Cloudy water might be the No. 1 nemesis of aquatic operators

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    Hire From Hell

    At a previous pool I managed, I was elated when an unusual applicant walked into the office looking for a job, and asked to see me. She said she’d worked at the pool 10 years ago and was interested in working there again

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    Going in Depth 

    In my years as an operator, one of the most difficult skills to master has been the art of delegating tasks

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    Power to the People 

    For a little over a year now, I’ve been working as the aquatics director for a new community natatorium at a high school. 


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