Dewey Case has been working around swimming pools since 1990, as a lifeguard, a part-time facility manager and even a service technician, while earning his degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Realizing he didn’t want to pursue a career in his field of study, in 2000, he accepted a full-time opportunity at a pool management firm in Virginia to kick-start his professional aquatics career. He lasted six months before submitting his resignation.
“It was absolutely the worst experience of my entire life,” reflected Case, who said that unlike other well-known management firms, this one didn’t operate its business in a manner he could stand behind, adding that the company ultimately closed down.
Luckily for the aquatics industry, Case didn’t follow suit. Instead, he took with him a life lesson that he applies to his work as the Association Aquatics Director of The Family YMCA of Southeast Mississippi, where he has worked since 2002.
“It’s important to hold onto your principles,” he said.
Since returning to Mississippi, Case has worked tirelessly to bring more awareness of swim safety to his local community. Although modest — Case describes himself as “just a guy operating a few pools for a small ‘Y’ in Mississippi” — he has played a significant role in advocating for safety in a state that currently has no bathing codes on the books. Whether it’s working with children who come from divorced households and lack a father figure, or serving as a mentor to the Gen Z staff, Case considers the bonds he has forged with patrons to be the most fulfilling aspect of his career.
Equally rewarding, however, is the volunteer work he has performed. When not focusing on his local facility, Case works with YMCA USA as a local safety advisor. As such, he has helped rework the aquatics safety guidelines, best practices that local YMCAs follow to operate safely. He also has helped to create the YMCA USA’s Lifeguard Competitions guidelines, which local establishments can adopt and use.
His work extends beyond the YMCA. Case also spends his time working with his region’s Red Cross chapter as a volunteer instructor, having served on its Health and Safety Committee and as its chair in the late 2000s. Additionally, he sat on the state’s Quality Assurance Committee before the mass restructuring of the organization red in 2011. He even serves as a National Swimming Pool Foundation instructor.
As perhaps his greatest and most fulfilling professional achievement, Case was selected not once, but twice, to serve on the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code, on the MAHC Lifeguarding and Bather Supervision and Technical Committee for the first edition; and then again last year for the second edition as part of the technical review committee.