Robert Jennings '88
by Lisa McNulty, Published April 15, 2015
Robert Jennings received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1988. He said, "I never wanted to work for 'the man' in a corporate environment and after 20 years I wanted a change." So, with that determination, he went on to be his own boss.
Bob is currently the owner of Swim Gear of North Carolina, which he purchased in January 2012. He said, "I have never worked so hard and so many hours in my life, but I am so much happier!" Swimming has always been something Bob enjoyed. It is still a hobby of his today, along with coaching swimming, running and home improvements.
Swim Gear is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and specializes in women and men's suits, goggles, bags, training equipment and accessories. Team sales are offered as well, where teams can buy matching suits, t-shirts, sweatshirts and caps from their website. They are proud to offer what is called "Swim Gear Seasonal," a non-competitive program designed to keep swimmers in shape.
Being a part of the EMU swim team that earned four Mid-American Conference championships was a great experience for Bob. Bob's swimming success led to his induction into the EMU E-Club Hall of Fame in 2001. According to his Hall of Fame bio, Bob's accomplishments throughout his EMU Swim career were:
- Outstanding swimmer for the EMU men's team from 1984-88
- Captain of the 1988 EMU squad and was also the Most Valuable Swimmer
- Selected as the MAC Senior Swimmer of the Year in 1988
- Won six individual MAC titles, winning both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events in 1986, 1987 and 1988
- Swam on three MAC championship relay teams
- Held EMU records in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke
- Held the MAC record in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Coach Mike Jones was a memorable staff member for Bob. He said, "Coach Jones was as much a father figure as he was a swim coach." When Bob was not busy swimming or studying, he enjoyed attending football games and hanging out with his friends at The Nickel and Theo's. Bob is happy to have established lifelong friendships with teammates and classmates over the course of his time at Eastern.
What is Bob most proud of? His four children and also getting his MBA from Wake Forest.
Bob's best piece of advice for students and recent graduates, "Follow your heart, not your head or dollar signs!"