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Masters Swimmer Jim Wheeler Receives the Paragon Award for Aquatic Safety

The annual Paragon Awards, sponsored by Paragon Aquatics, are presented by the International Swimming Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions to competitive swimming, water polo, competitive diving, aquatic safety, synchronized swimming and recreational swimming. The 2008 awards were presented in the Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday, May 17.

Jim has served on the USMS Safety Education, Marketing and Long Distance Committees, as well as chairing the Planning Committee and serving as Risk Management Coordinator.

Jim Wheeler’s work in the aquatic safety field spans more than four decades. He has worked as a California state beach lifeguard, managed recreational aquatic programs for several municipalities, consulted on facility audits and advanced lifeguard training and contributed to aquatic research and lifeguard readiness. In 1998, he created and implemented a plan to operate a year-round, full-service program for the city of San Ramon becoming active with the National Recreation and Park Association’s National Aquatic Branch. By 1991, he had become a speaker and chairperson at schools and conferences across the nation. More than 30 agencies and corporations across the country have retained Jim to train staff, inspect facilities and investigate accidents. Since 1991 he has spoken at more than 100 local, state and national conferences.

Jim has been the driving force in developing the aquatics section of the California Park and Recreation Society. Nationally, he has served on the NRPA National Aquatic Council as a regional representative and president. He has also served on United States Masters Swimming Safety Education, Marketing and Long Distance Swimming Committees, as well as chairing the Planning Committee and serving as Risk Management Coordinator. He developed an annual graduate school-level scholarship for the California Foundation for Parks and Recreation in the name of Total Aquatic Management, his consulting firm.

Jim is currently the aquatics supervisor for the city of Oakland, Calif., having served previously with six other cities and counties.

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