Lynden Noakes finds bacteria interesting. He also loves chatting with people and having fun.
They are attributes that have helped immensely during his career at the Lido Aquatic Centre. He has clocked up 20 years working for Lido operator CLM but his association with the Lido goes back further than that.
Noakes started working at the Lido in 1998 when it was run by the city council.
After leaving St Peter's College, he worked at Camp America and then in hospitality at Massey University.
He got a job as a casual lifeguard at the Lido then quickly rose up the ranks from part-time to full-time and then become a pool co-ordinator. This role involves managing a shift.
CLM took over in 2001 and when Noakes came back from overseas in 2002 he returned to the Lido. He managed the Freyberg complex for a while and become Lido facility manager in 2007.
He has always enjoyed swimming and has a background in surf lifesaving. He did chemistry at school and at the Lido became interested in water treatment and pool plant.
Noakes also enjoys problem-solving and is always learning. He might think he has seen it all but then something happens and he learns more about the plant or water treatment, or about how people react to situations.
People might see something different to you and what you see might not be what they see. Noakes says he tries to come to a happy medium.
"It's about working with people to get the best result."
He enjoys working with his team, developing new programmes, and having a yarn with customers to see how their day is going.
In 2019, the Lido won Most Outstanding Pool at the Recreation Aotearoa Awards.
Up against all New Zealand pools, Noakes says the Lido won because of all the effort staff put into offering a range of programmes.
In 2017, he was named a CLM Legend and last year the Lido won best cafe for CLM sites.
The Lido holds the CLM record for the most people at a wave rave - 460.
Another highlight was the installation of the outdoor slides in 2014.
Of course, the past two years have been dominated by the pandemic. "It's been a bit of a tough couple of years with Covid but we've all got through it."
Unlike other pools, the Lido hasn't had a lifeguard shortage and has sent staff to Nelson, Levin, Feilding and up north.
Getting lifeguards has never been too much of an issue as with Palmy being a student town people come in looking for work, he says.
A good number of the staff have been there for some time. Noakes says he has learned if you have a good team in place and everyone is involved then the place will run well.