Mississippi College

MC Water Fitness Program Gets Top Honors

January 14, 2008

Mississippi College athletes, scores of other students, and folks in the Clinton community are staying in shape through water walking, deep water running and liquid abs classes at the MC pool in Alumni Hall.

All that hard work is paying off for hundreds of participants and, in the process, MC is again getting national attention. The Florida-based United States Water Fitness Association recently named MC the nation's No. 1 college water fitness program for 2007.

The University of Rhode Island won the 2007 title for the university division, while Mt. San Antonio College in California was chosen the winner in community college competition. Thirty-two programs from 21 states competed for the awards.

"It shows excellence when a college qualifies. We are not only proud of the qualification, but extremely proud we continue to be the # 1 college," said Pamela Milling, the MC aquatics supervisor and instructor.

Based in Boynton Beach, Fla, the USWFA is an educational organization founded in 1988 to promote aquatics including water fitness. USWFA President and CEO John Spannuth is a true believer in what he preaches. Spannuth regularly dives into water exercises three times a week and puts on one-hour seminars around the country to promote his cause.

"The key to your whole program is one thing-the director," Spannuth said by phone Monday, referring to MC's Milling. "She is one of the top water fitness trainers and promoters in the country," he said. "She does a fabulous job. You don't have the world's largest swimming pool, but she does so much with what she has."

MC is tapping into a growing market of people in the U.S. and other nations who jump into a pool and exercise to stay fit. "The world is finally catching on to water exercise and its benefits," Spannuth said. Joggers and runners are discovering its benefits as are other athletes.

Spannuth estimates that millions of people are into water fitness and the numbers are growing by 20 percent per year. Today, more Americans walk in the water than swim laps. Milling has helped spread the message. She's spoken at national conferences about water exercise and MC's success story with its program.

MC water fitness began entering the USWFA awards program in 1994.Back then, MC was ranked among the nation's top 100 water fitness programs. MC has held onto the No. 1 ranking among college water fitness programs each year since 1998.

MC athletes, from quarterback Adam Shaffer to MC track graduate assistant Matthew Manning, a top finisher in the Mississippi Blues Marathon, are regulars in water fitness programs on the Clinton campus. It's also open to Clinton area residents, who pay $40 monthly, to work out in the pool, and the hours are flexible, Milling said. Some visit once a week, while others are in the pool a half-dozen times.

President Lee Royce said he's happy to see the MC water fitness program remain No. 1 at the national level. It didn't happen by accident. It's a case of hard work by Milling and others to keep an excellent MC program at the top of its game, he said.

For additional details, contact Pam Milling at 601-925-3491 or milling@mc.edu

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