For Jennifer White, swimming is all in the family. As a child, she was introduced to competitive swimming through a cousin who was an elite swimmer on the national level.
As an adult, she is part of the Starfish Aquatics Institute family — literally and as the SAI director of operations and swim school specialist. Most recently, she has been instrumental in the company’s newest endeavor, a partnership with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.
Following her cousin, White started swimming competitively at 11. She discovered a love of teaching at age 13, when she began helping out with swim lesson instruction.
Her last swim coach was Robbin White, who co-founded SAI with his wife, Jill, in 1999. Jennifer began working with SAI in 2001. At that time, she was program coordinator at the Chatham County Aquatic Center SAI used the facility to introduce its Starfish Swimming learn-to-swim program.
During that time, Jennifer was introduced to Lake White, Robbin and Jill’s son. The two are now married, with two young children.
White, 31, was an integral part of the successful launch of Starfish Swimming, and in 2005 she became national director. In 2007 she facilitated a partnership between SAI and USA Swimming to help kick off the Make a Splash initiative. She developed the program for a water safety event in Atlanta, which has become a model for other local Make a Splash events, and SAI training centers nationwide.
White also started an aquatic fitness program for homeschoolers that is now part of SAI.
“Pools around the country are suffering from budget cuts,” she says. “They need quality programming, and that motivates me.”
White believes that for aquatics operations to remain strong, innovation is key, and she counts Jill White as an important mentor in that endeavor. “She works harder than anyone I know, and she has taught me to go beyond what’s expected,” says Jennifer, a graduate of Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga.
This year, she’ll be working closely with Jill, launching new resources through the strategic partnership with PADI. The SAI curriculum will be the foundation of the PADI Swim School. PADI Americas’ newest education program is set to be rolled out at more than 1,720 dive shops and resorts.