Ellen Hartman is never one to shy away from diving into a swimming pool. From her first time getting in a pool as a toddler, to lifeguarding as a teenager, to training children and adults how to swim, she has spent a fair amount of her life in or near the water. Which is why her new role as the aquatics director at the Whitaker Family YMCA at Hamburg Place feels like the perfect fit.
“From the first time I got into the water, I knew I loved it,” Hartman said. “Something about the sense of freedom you feel while you’re in there really captivated me.”
Originally from Lexington, Hartman has lived in Indianapolis since her college years, but will soon return home as she takes on her new role as the aquatics director.
A lifelong fitness enthusiast, Hartman and her husband regularly compete in marathons, half marathons and triathlons. She recently completed her first Ironman Triathlon, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.22-mile run, and is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day events in all of sports. Hartman spent a year preparing for the event, and now that the journey is over, she is ready for her next journey as a YMCA director.
The new Whitaker Family YMCA features an indoor aquatic complex and an outdoor Splash Pad, and Hartman plans to showcase these features and get members involved in swim lessons and water fitness programs offered at the Y.
“Teaching and training others is what I love to do and that is a big part of this job,” Hartman said. “I really want to grow this branch and really push our aquatic features to the Hamburg area.”
Out of everything she loves about being in the water, Hartman said her biggest appreciation is that anyone of any age can enjoy swimming and benefit from it in some way.
“It’s something that you can do for your entire life. Once you get older there are a lot of things you can no longer do, but swimming is beneficial for people of all ages,” Hartman said. “It’s a lifelong activity and a lifesaving skill that anyone can do.”