The Florida A&M University Rattler Aquatic Center is open and offering opportunities for recreation and education in aquatic studies for interested students.
David Brown, a 20-year-old junior architecture student from St. Petersburg, said, “The facilities are huge and really look up to par!”
The facility comes complete with an Olympic-sized pool, diving boards and a new play area equipped with a tube slide for younger pool goers or anyone else young at heart.
This fall, the RAC is offering American Red Cross swim classes for $20 at beginners, advanced beginners and intermediate swimmer levels.
Each class is offered based on demand and skill level. Admission is on a first-come first-serve basis. The swimming lesson sessions are Sept. 18-29, Oct. 2-13, Oct. 16- 27, Oct. 30- Nov. 10 and Nov. 27-Dec. 8. Swim classes will meet tentatively on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 p.m.
“The center will give students a chance to explore new options at the university,” said Derek Sutherlin, a 21-year-old senior finance student from Chicago. “It’s like FAMU has opened another door to becoming a gifted individual.”
Edmund Royster, an 18-year-old freshman psychology student from Detroit, has been a lifeguard at the RAC since the summer.
“It’s not one of the best; it is the best pool in the city,” Royster said.
When Royster arrives in the morning, he goes over a checklist of what needs to be done prior to opening the center for the day.
The list includes cleaning, inspecting and ensuring equipment is in good working condition.
“It’s hard to point out one outstanding feature of the center,” Royster said. “There are so many different great aspects to it that there’s not much to not like.”
In addition to the recreational aspect of the RAC, there is a unique program of studies called the Aquatic Endorsement.
These courses, now offered at the university, help enhance training in oceanography, marine biology and underwater science.
The course work also gives students practical, on-the-job training.
There are a total of 12 hours worth of classes needed to complete the Aquatic Endorsement. They are Management and Operation of Aquatic Facilities, Principles and Analysis of Aquatics, Lifeguard Training, Seminar in Aquatics, and Aquatics Practicum.
In addition to the required courses, student must also complete a summer practicum.
That may include work at a summer camp, marine biology internship or National Youth Sports Program practicum.
Events in the future for the new center include FAMU Orange and Green Pride Oct. 7, Rattler Pride Oct. 27 and high school swimming and diving meets on Sept. 20 and 27 and Oct. 11.
The RAC is funded by activity and service fees allocated by the student senate.
The RAC is open Monday through Friday from noon to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
There is also a special time set aside for faculty swim from noon to 1 p.m. FAMU students are admitted to the center free of charge, while individuals under the age of 14 and senior citizens have to pay $1. It is $2 for the general public.
Lockers are also available on a rental basis for $7 per semester.
Other classes being offered include lifeguarding, water safety instructor, lifeguard instructor, CPR/first aid and basic water rescue.