The expert advice to answer your most pressing questions. This month, Chris Seris, the assistant director for aquatics at the University of Missouri, discusses aquatic programming.
What’s unique about Mizzou’s Aquatic Center programming compared to other schools?
CS: The Mizzou Aquatic Center is unique in several ways. We have six bodies of water — four pools and two hot tubs — which allows us to have a wide range of programs and activities happening simultaneously. This includes competitive swimming and diving practices, learn-to-swim, Master’s swimming, recreational swimming and relaxation time.
The 50-meter pool is configurable from eight, 50-meter lanes or 22, 25-yard lanes, or two, 25-yard pools. The Diving Well also has eight lap lanes and both pools are available for lap swimming, water walking or other training. The Tiger Grotto, our indoor leisure pool, is a warmer environment great for leisure and recreation, as well as our learn-to-swim program and some water fitness classes. Our outdoor club pool, Truman’s pond, is our warm-weather pool with furniture and loungers for the sunbathers.
What are some of your most popular aquatic programs?
CS: General lap swim and our learn-to-swim programs are the most popular by far, with several hundred participating in the two programs daily.
Why do you think those specific programs are so popular?
CS: Lap swimming and water walking are very easy pursuits for individuals to do without much problem. Only a swimsuit is required, and many individuals do not require a large block of time in order to get a good workout. Learn-to-swim is a very popular program because most parents want their children to be safe around the water. We also have a very popular private lesson program with children and adults.
How does Mizzou stay on the cutting edge in terms of aquatic programming?
CS: We try to stay ahead of trends we see coming in aquatics, and then assess our students’ needs and requests to ensure we are providing what they want, as well as exposing them to new opportunities.
What’s the biggest learning lesson you’ve had with your aquatic programming over the years?
CS: We have learned that interest in water fitness is difficult to generate in our setting. We have had mixed results from our water fitness offerings, while the traditional group fitness classes in our facility have growing interest every year. Many factors play into this, including facility layout and existing perceptions. We have not given up on this, but it continues to challenge us.