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Straight From the Lake and Into the Pool

Florida State University Aquatics

There is a lot more to consider when maintaining these colossal giants of competition and wellness than one might think. Pool Operators face a myriad of challenges above and beyond balancing the mega gallonage at a body of water whose role serves as recreational, fitness, and sports venue.  If you recall, in September we spoke with University of Georgia’s Alex Nichols.This month Florida State University’s Aquatics Coordinator, Lizzie Milkas, joins us to discuss some of the intricacies of operating a collegiate swimming pool. Here is what Lizzie had to say:

Lizzie Milkas
Aquatics Coordinator
FSU Campus Recreation

A college campus transforms during the summer time. Students go home, academic classes are reduced and everyone is eager to learn to swim. During the summer, FSU’s Campus Recreation center hosts swim lessons every day for 8 weeks and every Saturday.

In addition to swim lessons and lifeguarding at the Leach the aquatics staff operates the waterfront facility known as the Rez. Starting at 8am everyday there are eight lifeguards working between the Rez and Leach, this continues until 5pm. The Rez is home to our summer camp, Camp Flastacowo.

The campers are in the water first thing learning lifelong skills and the lifeguards are there ensuring their safety.  At 5pm, we begin getting ready for our swim lessons at the Leach and bring on anywhere between 12-16 instructors and an additional lifeguard. Between the hours of 5pm and 7pm, during the week, we could have up to 25 employees working between our two sites.

A major challenge is not having quite enough staff during the summer time, which stems from a multitude of reasons. Many of the lifeguards go home for the summer because they are not taking classes. Some go home because their on campus housing has closed and they have to. Finally, others go home because they know they can make more money at the pools back home. Ultimately, we struggle with the burnout that comes with the same amazing 40ish staff having to work over 415 hours every week

To see what University of Georgia’s Director of Aquatics, Alex Nichols, had to say on the subject in last months Spotlight: University of Georgia Aquatics