I started my career in swimming as an instructor, coach as well as a volunteer for special needs swimmers at what is now the Ocean County YMCA, where I eventually became the head instructor for Red Cross CPR & First Aid. After obtaining the rank of lieutenant at the local first aid squad, I was one of the first to complete a new state paramedic program at the Community Hospital of Toms River. As my professional career took a temporary turn away from swimming, I secured employment at one of the casinos in Atlantic City. I never, however, left my community commitment and continued to give back to the community by fundraising over $1million for Muscular Dystrophy foundation.
Missing the world of swimming, I set out to build an aquatic center to share the passion I have for swimming with others. We opened Brigantine Aquatic Center (BAC) in 2001 and have made it my full-time commitment for the last 7 years. Since the BAC opened, we’ve taught more than 5000 children how to swim and have established a swim team, Special Olympics swim team, and a Master’s Team. Our affiliations include USA Swimming, USA Masters Swimming, SONJ, Massi’s Mission, and the American Red Cross. Last year, together with several members of the BAC family, I launched Whelan’s Whales, a free-swimming program for the inner-city youth of Atlantic City. In its first 6 months, the program taught over 300 children to swim! Additionally, I manage and staff 11 private outdoor pools, run several very successful Open Water events, and organize food drives and fundraisers.
My goal as a swim instructor and coach is to instill the love of swimming in children while giving back to the community. I started swimming as a child at the Ocean County YMCA and swam competitively for both the OCY Tiger Sharks and Central Regional High School swim teams. Shortly after my mother opened Brigantine Aquatic Center, I started working as an instructor and the Head Deck Coach for the Greenheads swim team. I am a volunteer instructor for the FACES for Autism Water Safety program, Massi's Mission, and the founder of the Greenheads Swimming Special Olympic Team. I work closely with Make a Splash, a USA Swimming Foundation program, and am Program Coordinator and co-founder of Whelan’s Whales. I am an American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor and Water Safety Instructor, a Certified USA Swimming Coach and Official, an Open Water Swim Coach, a Greenheads Swimming Master Swimmer, and consistently thinking of new ways of using swimming for community outreach.
Swimming has always been part of my life. Growing up, I competed with the Millville Marlins Swim Team. As an adult, I became certified with Middle Atlantic Swimming as a Meet Director, and Operational Risk Director, where I provide services to several swim teams throughout South Jersey. I’m also a certified Administrative Official and Stroke & Turn Official with USA Swimming.
For the Brigantine Aquatic Center and the Greenheads Swim Team, I’ve been a part-time swim coach, Team Manager, and USA Masters Swimmer. Passionate about running, I’ve completed several 5K’s, 10K’s, 10Mi’s, half-marathons, and a full Marathon.
My involvement with Whelan’s Whales, Greenheads Special Olympics Swim Team, and Brigantine Aquatics Center is deeply personal. My son, Stanley, is Autistic. Through BAC’s commitment to teaching water safety to all members of the community, he participated in lessons through Massi’s Mission and FACES 4 Autism. Along with his brother Stephon, Stan learned to swim in just 6 months. He went on to join the Absegami High School Swim Team and became the captain of the Greenheads Special Olympics Swim Team. Stephon will also be following in his older brother’s footsteps by joining both teams.
The peace of mind my husband and I have knowing that our boys will be safe in the water is priceless, and we enjoy watching them become involved in such a great sport. It’s my hope that through the Whelan’s Whales program, many other parents will experience the same feeling while their children discover the sport of swimming.
Along with my wife Robin, I embraced the concept of a community pool for exercise, instruction, and a competitive swim team. After two years of hard work, literally building it from the ground up, we opened Brigantine Aquatic Center in 2001 where I was the first swim instructor. I’m a certified lifeguard and taught swimming when the center first opened. As a certified Pool Operator, I not only keep BAC up and running year-round, I also manage other pools at several condo complexes in Brigantine and Atlantic City. Outside of the pool, I spend time as a HAM radio operator and an amateur astronomer.
Swimming has always been a huge part of my life from swimming at Salem City Pool every summer to then lifeguarding there and at Gibbstown Swim Club through college. As much as I swam, the one opportunity I did not have was participating in a competitive swim team. When it was time to teach my daughter to swim, Brigantine Aquatic Center was my first choice, not only because of the coaching staff, but their commitment to the community. The Whelan Whales program in particular hit home with me because of the countless kids we taught to swim at Salem City Pool.
It is my hope that with my professional experience in events, marketing and industry affiliations such as IAEE and PCMA that I will continue to serve Green Whales Inc. in the same capacity as my other volunteer work. I have been an Account Executive at Vista Convention Services since 2009 and before that worked for Marriott Vacation Club International; all of my professional positions revolve around trade shows and events. I come to the Board of Green Whales Inc with experience as a Board Member of the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives from 2015-2017, as well. I graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, Minor in Marketing and Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
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