by Brian Lamar

Robin Cousins might as well have chlorinated water running through her veins. The majority of her life has been spent in, on or around the water.

Cousins has been getting acclimated to the Naval Construction Battalion Center Aquatics Center and working with the federal government since June after taking a position as the new aquatics center director on base.

Although Cousins has had a varied and extensive career already in aquatics, she is getting her feet wet with this new unique challenge in her career. This is her first time working on a military installation.

After a stroke of good luck, she was hired here and came to Gulfport to be closer to her family, who live in the area.

Her parents retired near Hattiesburg and her siblings live in Ocean Springs.

Cousin’s previous experience was running the Aquatics Department in West Palm Beach.

“So far I like it here. It is great. We haven’t had any rude customers yet, which is refreshing and wonderful. Everyone has been super nice and helpful,” said Cousins.

While Cousins is coming in from a background in municipal facilities, she has some plans for the short- and long-term future of the aquatics center.

“My goal is for when customers are here, most importantly they feel like they are part of a community and feel welcome and that they have a place to be. I want everyone to feel special, like they are all treated like the base commander,” she said.

Cousins wants to take the pool from a general lap pool and bring in more activities to make it more interesting for all ages. She is taking a deep dive into plans to build fitness classes that are based more toward a younger crowd.

“Not all aquatic fitness is for little old ladies. There are many things we can do for all ages.

We are putting together some challenges and showcases to get people out here and building a bigger aquatics fitness community,” she said.

Cousins is pooling her resources to offer more for families as she works on the things she can strive toward in her lane.

“We are going to be getting swim lessons back starting next spring for our families. It is an important thing to do. Formal swim lessons reduce the chance of drowning by 88 percent, which is a huge number and a good enough reason for me,” said Cousins.

Cousins’ love affair with combined hydrogen and oxygen molecules doesn’t just end at her job. It is her way of life.

“If you can believe it, I leave the pool and go home to my fish camp. I can step out on a dock as soon as I get home. I fish a lot and boat out to the islands with my family. I just enjoy the outdoors,” said Cousins.

“My future goal for this center is to spread the addiction for the love of the pool. I tell people that no matter how bad my day is going, I am still at the pool,” she said. “I want that to extend to the patrons.”