Pool pro: Cathy Smits is the authority on all things aquatic in Provo

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Cathy works in Provo but lives in Lehi with her husband and four children.

Cathy works in Provo but lives in Lehi with her husband and four children.

It’s not summer until you’ve taken a dip in a swimming pool — and one of the best local places to get wet is the new Provo Recreation Center. Cathy Smits, aquatics supervisor for the rec center, plays a vital role in making sure pool time goes swimmingly for guests.

Cathy has a background in recreation management and worked as an aquatics supervisor in Henderson, Nev., before taking a position with Provo City.

She helped design the indoor and outdoor pools at the new rec center and provided her expert input on features from the climbing wall to the lazy river. When it was time to select decorative features for the children’s tree house play area, Cathy took cues from Utah Valley’s beautiful mountain backdrop.

[pullquote]“A lot of indoor pool structures use palm trees but I wanted to use pine trees to reflect the landscape of Provo.”[/pullquote]“A lot of indoor pool structures use palm trees, but I wanted to use pine trees to reflect the landscape of Provo,” Cathy says.

She also manages the pool’s many lifeguards, fitness instructors, swimming teachers and swim team coaches — a group that can include as many as 150 employees come summer time. The capacity of both the indoor and outdoor pools is right around 3,000, and approximately 27,000 rec center memberships have been sold since it opened in May 2013. Which means roughly one in four Provo residents has a pass to the rec center.

All of those swimmers make the days splash by as Cathy keeps everything afloat as the resident problem solver.

“This job has taught me to live in the moment,” Cathy says. “Every single day is different!”

Cathy is also adding new programs and classes to the aquatic center’s lineup. She is especially excited about the new paddleboard fitness class starting this summer.

Kathy’s four children, ranging in age from 15 to 7, are among the pool’s thousands of smiling swimmers.

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Kate Lehnhof Nash first joined Bennett Communications as a summer intern in 2009. Now, as an associate editor, she writes for magazines including Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley Bride and Prosper. Kate lives in Springville with her husband Steve and enjoys running, reading, sushi and her french bulldog, Chief.

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