2000 Paragon Award / Aquatic Safety
Steve Graves has been involved in the administration of aquatics for more than twenty years. Most of these years have been dedicated to aquatic safety. At the age of 16 years, Steve started teaching swimming at the Normal, Illinois, Parks and Recreation Department. He was a competitive swimmer who swam to All-American status at Division II, Illinois State University under the guidance of Coach Archie Harris in Normal (1969). For the next seven years, he coached swimming for A.A.U. teams in Normal and Springfield, Illinois and Tucson, Arizona. It was in 1976 that he became a swim school owner in Arizona followed by Florida.
It was in 1988 in St. Petersburg, Florida, that Steve formed the National Swim School Association (NSSA), a group of very important swimming school owners and professional staff members who are often forgotten by other aquatic organizations. As its Executive Director, Steve's organization provides a wide variety of services to the membership including regular newsletters, annual conferences, networking support and the dissemination of aquatic safety information. Because of NSSA, hundreds of swim school operators, owners and entrepreneurs receive up to date information on aquatic safety whereby they can improve on their methods of teaching children to swim. Thousands of children around the country now enjoy their involvement in safe aquatics.
Since 1988, Steve has taken on other endeavors which supplement the importance of safe swimming promoted by NSSA. He serves as Executive Director of The Club Pool Association made up of owners of summer recreational family swim clubs in the United States. He also serves as Executive Director of the Florida West Coast Chapter of the National Spa and Pool Institute for pool builders, servicers and manufacturers. Just recently, he was elected President of the World Aquatic Babies Congress, an association of swim teachers focused on teaching the skills and safety of swimming to young children.
With each of these organizations, Steve is very active in educating and promoting water safety to children and families as well as to the professionals conducting programs within the organizations, particularly through the distribution of professional education materials within these organizations and through community service materials going out to the public.