An active duty navy wife for 23 years, Carole Barrish raised a family of three children alongside her husband Paul Barrish, Captain USN Retired. Having moved more than 20 times throughout their career, Carole is no stranger to change and the tenacity needed to make things happen.
As fate would have it, Carole (along with a group of like-minded, aqua-aerobics women), crossed paths with GH Sports back in 2000 while she and her husband were living in Cambria, CA. At that time, GH founder Greg Hind had been working on conceptual designs for aqua therapy garments as well as suits for physical therapy patients and the handicapped and elderly. Looking for specialty fabrics and conducting a lot of market research and prototype testing, the GH team listened to suggestions from Carole and her friends as they fine tuned the product design and fabric.
Carole sat down with our staff in 2015 to share her history and connection with the GH brand.
It started with a concept,
I started water aerobics at Cuesta College in 2000 and immediately realized I had to have a jacket of some sort. The timing was absolutely perfect because we found out about GH Sports and the different fitness clothes Greg Hind was manufacturing at that time. We went into the San Luis Obispo store and the rashguards were there. I bought a few for summer, but they were a pain in the neck to get off.
Our suggestion to Greg was to put a zipper in the rashguard. There were a lot of us in the pool who would benefit from this type of product. When Greg put a zipper in it, we marched right in there to GH Sports and bought them like we said we would.
It was wise of him to design the Aqua Jacket and it was just perfect for us.
adapted based on need,
There was a group of us women who did water aerobics all year around and we realized we needed a heavier water jacket to wear during the winter. We shared this with Greg who was playing with thicker neoprene fabrics at the time. Using the same design as the Aqua Jacket, he made the thicker Aqua Thermal Jacket. I still wear mine 15 years later.
and continues today.
I got a new jacket this year to rotate wearing with my 15 year old version that I wear during our group aqua aerobics class that I help lead three times per week. I call myself a ‘facilitator.’ I do not have any formal credentials to teach the aerobics, but I do have all of the exercises that I learned at Cuesta College and from another past instructor.
I go down in the mornings to make sure the pool is open and the noodles and buoys are out. For our workouts, we start at the top of our head, working our neck and shoulders and arms and hands, and go all the way down our body, exercising everything until the very end when we are working our legs and feet. We try to get as much exercise as possible while in the pool.
The ladies like both of the aqua tops. The lightweight is great because we have an outdoor pool. We may feel fine in the water during the summer, but when we get out it’s cold for us. The all polyester fabric is good for extra protection from the sun too. The thicker neoprene thermal tops help keep us even warmer.