The Annual Paragon Awards, sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems, are presented for outstanding contributions to: Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, Competitive Diving, Aquatic Safety, Synchronized Swimming and Recreational Swimming.
Cindy Brown (USA) / Co-Owner, Aquabilities
2008 Paragon Award / Recreational Swimming
Cindy Brown's career in swimming began in 1962, as an Aquatic Aide, teaching swimming at the YWCA in Reading, Pennsylvania. She continued teaching through nursing school and even after she was employed as a full-time, licensed practical nurse. In 1973 she left nursing to follow her passion as a swimming instructor and eventually became the Aquatic Director at the Y, but her love of nursing never left her. At the Y, she designed therapy programs for women with arthritis and for women who had had mastectomies or had Multiple Sclerosis.Working with the local Easter Seal Association, she created aquatic programs for children with special needs and in the mid-1980's developed an aquatic based program for children with learning disabilities.
In 1988, Cindy left the YWCA with the idea that she could, as an entrepreneur, create a business that would have a far greater impact on the community than she could have at the Y. The business started with an old van that carried equipment to any body of water that was suitable for instruction. The business grew and, onApril 19, 1993, Cindy opened the Aquabilities Swim School and Water Fitness Center, believed to be the first stand-alone Aquatic Fitness Center in the
Country. Today, Aquabilities operates in two highly successful locations, in Birdsboro and Blandon, Pennsylvania. She
served on the first Board of the United States Water Fitness Association, was a member of the National Aquatic Summit
and the American Red Cross Aquatic Committee. Cindy is a nationally recognized expert and speaker on aquatics, learn-to-swim, swimming for special populations, infant swimming and aquatic programming.
Aquabilities was founded on the belief and knowledge that every person has the ability to participate in, receive physical
benefit from, find pleasure through and gain greater self-esteem from being in the water. Cindy says it best: "Water isn't just for swimming, it is for life!"