“I’ve been at the pool since I was a little kid and I have always thought of it as home. Can you believe I was ateenager once?”
Bret Richardson has spent his entire life at the Forest Park Aquatic Center (FPAC) swimming, lifeguarding, coaching, or helping with the Noblesville Swim Club(NOB). While he was once a young elementary-schooler playing at the old pool, today he can often be found at FPAC taking senior pictures for young adult swimmers heading off to college.
Richardson’s FPAC story begins in 1968 when he joined NOB at the age of nine. The swim club, which was founded by Terry Busby, practiced at the Noblesville junior high school pool, a six-lane, 25-yard, indoor competition pool.
“The junior high school pool was the pool in Hamilton County,” shares Richardson. “I was playing little league baseball when I decided to join Terry Busby’s swim club with a friend of mine. Little did I know, it would lead to a lifetime of swimming.”
“I remember watching construction guys building the pool, pouring concrete, and acid washing the bottom,” shares Richardson. “They filled up the pool and we were in there immediately.”
The pool opened in July of 1976 and was called Park Pool. As NOB settled into their new home, Richardson also began working as a lifeguard. He recalls the busyness on the first day of the pool’s opening.
“In order to keep things clean and nice, we had a rule that you had to take a soap shower before getting into the pool,” shares Richardson. “As lifeguards, we couldn’t let people out of the lockerroom until they had showered and washed their hair. It was very crowded that day, and, well, that rule changed in about 24 hours,” says Richardson with a laugh.
After spending several summers swimming and working at the pool, it was time for Richardson to head off to college. Upon graduating from Purdue University, Richardson found himself back in Noblesville where he began working as an assistant coach to Busby for five years from 1985 to 1990. Busby headed the program for 34 years before retiring. During this time, Richardson’s three daughters all spent time swimming forNOB. His youngest was a member for 11 years before heading to college. Eventually, Richardson connected back upas a team assistant with new head swim coach, Rich Wolfred. From 2005 to 2019, Richardsonworked countless high school and club swim meets and became a USA Swimming official. He also served on the club’s board of directors and as the team photographer for both NOB and NHS. Richardson’s photos have been featured in the local paper for many years, in NHS yearbooks, and have even been nationally publicized.
“I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with Terry and Rich, two great men and swim coaches,” shares Richardson. “I have seen both FPAC and the kids grow tremendously over the years.I have watched kids from all over Hamilton County compete from an early age all the way up to when they have gone on to swim at other pools across the country. It is very surreal.”
Since retiring from coaching last year, Richardson has been focusing on his property management and photography business, which has included capturing photos for countless swimmers he coached during his time at FPAC.
“For a lot of kids, FPAC is where they grow up, and that has not changed,” shares Richardson.“It’s been that way since I was lifeguarding 50 years ago. Local kids would line up outside before we opened and would not want to leave when we closed. We helped raise those kids and mentor them. I see those kids out and around sometimes today. However, they’re not kids anymore. They’re old, like me.”