Pauls Valley Democrat
Billy Tomlinson has not only found the change he was looking for but he cherishes the chance to build a bigger and better aquatics program here in Pauls Valley.
Tomlinson is already on the job as the new aquatics supervisor for both the Bosa indoor swimming pool and the new outdoor water park now under construction next to the Reynolds Recreation Center in Wacker Park.
Working in the water world has been a big part of Tomlinson’s life, who will turn 29 years old later this month.
A part of lifeguarding since he was 16, he comes to Pauls Valley from a multi-pool facility in Texas where he supervised dozens of lifeguards.
“I liked my job, but I think I was in a position where I was ready for a move upwards and to something different,” Tomlinson said.
“It’s rare to get to be involved in the creation of something,” he said, referring to the new pool being built here and the local aquatics program.
“It’s an opportunity to really build an aquatics program. There’s one here already but it can be so much more.”
Tomlinson is from Mesquite, Texas, an east side suburb of Dallas. At 16 he started as a lifeguard at a municipal water park that included a few pools in his hometown. Two years later he was the manager of the facilities.
“I had a lot of experience working at very different community pools,” he said.
In all there were four pools — a water park, a pool for competitive swim meets and a couple of classic community style pools.
Then in 2003 he went to work at a pool facility in Allen, Texas, which is on the north side of the Dallas metro area.
“The facility in Allen is very similar to the one we’re building here.”
The big difference is this other facility is an indoor one. A year after arriving Tomlinson began teaching lifeguard training classes.
At one point Tomlinson joined the U.S. Navy where he trained to serve as a field medic. When an old football injury was reaggravated his training came to an end and he wound up leaving the Navy.
After a stint with paramedic and firefighter training he returned to the Allen pool facility for a second time.
“That was when I thought I had put in a lot of time with pools and aquatics,” Tomlinson said.
“It was time to commit to it and make a career of it.”
The Allen facility consists of two indoor pools — a leisure pool and one for swim meets — and an outdoor pool.
“I was in charge of these three pools and over 40 to 60 lifeguards,” he said.
He worked there from 2008 right up until accepting his current position in Pauls Valley.
Although here for only a short time, PV itself has already made an impression on him.
“I like that it’s a small town. Living in the hub bub of Dallas was starting to wear me down. I was looking for a general slow down. I needed a change of pace.”
Tomlinson’s hopes are to use his experience from those Texas pool facilities to build on the ones here in Pauls Valley.
“I definitely want to make it an attraction — a place where families can come and spend the day; where they can come multiple times a week,” he said about the new water park when it opens for business next year.
Part of his experience is in special events. He envisions things at the new park like family nights and events with a special theme.
There’s also such ideas as duck derby, which is a contest that allows all ages to decorate little rubber duckies.
He’s already on the job planning for the recruitment and training of lifeguards needed for the opening of the park when the next swim season rolls around.
Tomlinson stresses all the activities currently offered at the Bosa pool will continue.
He would like to expand the swim lessons program to a year round thing and maybe even get a club swim team going.