The Aquatics and SCUBA Club can be called everything but a swim team. Their programming falls into two main categories: Education and fun.
Several times a semester, they host water-based games and activities for anyone who wants to attend. They also run outreach programs and water safety events.
Their outreach programs include partnerships with the local SCUBA diving community and Boy Scout troop.
The Physical and Health Education Department offers an aquatics minor. According to its current president, many students who pick up the minor join the club as well. However, people from any major and minor can get involved, even if they’re not experienced.
“You don’t have to know how to swim to join,” said Sammy Dudley, one of two incoming co-presidents. “Just show up and we’ll figure out how to teach you to swim.”
Dudley and Mary Zipfel will head the Aquatics and SCUBA Club next semester. They are both sophomores, majoring in parks and resource management and physical and health education, respectively. Zipfel and Dudley, along with the current president, AJ Sumser, are certified SCUBA divers and lifeguard instructors.
SRU offers a SCUBA diving class for students to become certified divers. They partner with JT-Scuba, a local diving instructor, to help instruct the classes and provide equipment. They also provide a student discount, making the certification more accessible. Sumser describes them as “our mentors in the scuba community.”
“I cannot speak highly enough about [JT-Scuba],” Dudley said. “They will tell you anything you ever want to know.
“They have built a really good community of present and former students that come back to dive with them.”
In addition to having mentors, the Aquatics Club may become mentors themselves through Venture Crew, a scouting program for high school and college students.
Members of the club also run some water safety events with the local Boy Scouts troop. It’s still a work in progress, though, according to Dudley.
In the future, the co-presidents plan to expand their involvement with Venture Crew.
In between educational programs, the club can be found kayaking, paddle boarding or just playing games in the pool. Sumser explains it as “anything that swim team doesn’t do in the water.”
Through the club, all three have found their niche in aquatics, as well as a community of people who are as dedicated as they are.
“There’s such a wide variety of opportunities in the [aquatics sector], and the importance of collaboration across those sectors can’t be undermined,” Sumser said. “There is a broader community and everyone can find their specific role to still work toward those broader goals.”
Zipfel also discovered a passion for aquatics.
“I have found my purpose,” Zipfel said. “[The club] opened me up to a world that I didn’t even know existed prior to coming to college, and I am so fortunate for it.”