URI aquatic center receives Best University Award from Aquatics International

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

URI aquatic center receives Best University
Award from Aquatics International

Just one of several honors for aquatics program

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 31, 2002 — The University of Rhode Island’s Tootell Aquatic Center has been awarded the Best University/ School Award from Aquatics International publications.

In addition, the United States Fitness Association has ranked URI’s aquatic center fourth in the country as One of the Very Top Aquatic Programs in the United States. Aquatics Director Ted Boyett, was named One of the Very Top Aquatic Directors in the United States. The center was also named the Top Aquatic Program in the State of Rhode Island.

The center offers a variety of instructional and recreational swim classes, aerobic, competition and health and safety programs, at its four-lane warm water pool, diving pool and eight-lane competition pool.

The Fourth Annual Best of Aquatics Awards were announced in the November/ December issue of Aquatics International Magazine. Each year, the magazine presents awards to individuals, communities and facilities that provide services to their communities in the field of aquatics. The winners are selected from a panel of five judges, four of whom are members of the Aquatics International Advisory Board.

According to Aquatics International, URI received the award due to “the remarkable array of options, beginning with the fairly standard classes for kids and seniors in a 75-foot, four-lane, warm water pool. But there also is quite the eclectic collection of possibilities for both students and locals.”

“The key to our success is, we don’t just focus on one area,” said Boyett. “We serve a diverse population and we’re always looking to expand what we do.”

He also attributes much of the success to the center’s staff. “There is an incredible group of hardworking students who help run this place professionally along with Jill Waller, the recreational services secretary, who does a wonderful job.”

When Boyett came to URI in 1995, URI had a minimal number of aquatic programs.

“(When I got here) we didn’t offer swimming lessons. There were a couple of physical education classes and one senior class and we had maybe 30 hours of recreational swim time,” said Boyett, who became the first aquatics director in 25 years at URI.

The University now offers more than 80 hours of instructional swim time for adults and children with morning, noon and evening classes. Other programs include senior water exercise, hydroaerobics, synchronized swimming, spinal injury management in water and lifeguard and CPR training. The facility also hosts birthday parties.

Boyett also wants to start running blood pressure screenings at Tootell. Seniors would be able to have their blood pressure taken at their swim classes.

Even with all of the new aquatic programs, Boyett believes URI could offer more. “There are so many possibilities.”