Jeanie Neal

Goals and challenges

Brownell-Talbot School is no stranger to the Best of Aquatics program. It earned the title twice before, in 2008 and 2013, for its BT Aquatics program, which places great emphasis on teaching children to swim.

This time, the facility has made an impact on the community with a short-term targeted program celebrating the selection of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, when the trials took place in its home of Omaha, Neb. this summer.

The program served several purposes. In addition to building up excitement for the months leading up to the Games, it was a catalyst to promoting water safety and the slogan “swimming fast is fun.” It also engaged swimmers in the excitement of trials taking place in their own backyard. At the same time, it remained consistent with the school’s ongoing message and core purpose to grow a knowledgeable swimming fan base.

This was the third event of its kind, yet still came with its own unique challenges. This year, the facility had to host the event while also accommodating its swim team, formed after the 2012 Trials. In order to provide the most effective alternate curricula, the school needed to suspend its normal programming and swim lessons.

How they did it

BT Aquatics reached all members of its target audience by hosting a variety of themed events that were heavily promoted via social media.

In the months leading up to the trials, which ran June 26-July 3, Brownell-Talbot School physical education swimming class students participated in learning activities and followed the results of the trials.

A Water Safety Torch Walk invited participants to move 0.8 miles along the riverfront, viewing water safety messages along the way, before getting a sneak peek at the Trials pool.

An Olympic-Sized Splash Meet at a nearby 50-meter pool allowed novice swimmers to experience swimming in an Olympic-sized course.

In addition, BT Aquatics hosted the four-day Central Zone Select Diversity Camp for swimmers, coaches and diversity coordinators from 11 states in an effort to create an inclusive environment in the sport.

Meanwhile, the school made the pool available for rent by the half-hour per lane.

BT Aquatics also was home to the Mutual of Omaha Breakout Clinics conducted by Olympian Josh Davis and his crew of medalists/clinicians. The clinics were held for an hour and a half twice a day for each day of the Trials and were completely sold out.

As a result of the programming, the facility enjoyed its best ever session sales of swimming lessons.