Kristen Linehan Omli has been the Director of Marketing for Competitor for eight years, bringing with her a long and highly-acclaimed career in swimming and expert knowledge of the sport. Perhaps it is in part to her influence that Competitor emphasizes the needs of the swimmers when it comes to their products. “We think of what will work best for the swimmer,” Kristen explains, “and then we set out to make that happen.”
Kristen says her working relationship with Competitor President, Brad Underwood, is what originally compelled her to join the company. The two met regarding a product that Kristen developed that would fit into Competitor’s product line. While still in the process of bringing that product to fruition, Kristen says, “it became apparent that we worked well with each other and that I could add to the swimming knowledge of Competitor.”
Competitor relies on both that knowledge of the sport and science to develop the best products for its users, from the quality of the material to the ease of use of the product. For instance, the LifeSpan+™ formula that goes into each lane line helps Competitor to deliver a superior product that substantially increases the useful life of lane line discs in harsh pool environments.
LifeSpan+™ was developed through a collaboration with the University of Akron Institute of Polymer Science & Polymer Engineering and A. Schulman, a leading international supplier of high-performance plastic compounds and resins, and is only found in Competitor-brand lane lines. “When we developed LifeSpan+™ in 2014, we knew it was going to be a game-changer in the industry.”
The protective additive formula with cutting-edge polymer stabilization components and highly weatherable pigments adds both longevity and durability to Competitor lane lines. “This separates Competitor from every other lane line in the world and speaks to the initiative Competitor takes to ensure that we have the best product available.”
From her swimmer’s perspective, Kristen stresses that the lane lines really do make a difference. Competitor lane lines are comprised of discs and donuts with flow-through technology that allow for turbulence control the entire length of the lane, eliminating dead spots and water bounce-back. “Especially for me as a backstroker,” Kristen notes, “I would use the lane lines to my advantage. They helped guide me on knowing where I am in the lane, from the 15-meter marker to the last 5 yards/meters.”
Kristen was part of the University of Florida Women’s Swimming and Diving Team from 1988 through 1991, earning numerous championships and titles during her tenure. “I was very fortunate to have a 20-year swimming career, during which I experienced many life lessons that helped to make me who I am today – committed and determined with a strong work ethic and drive.”
Most notably, Kristen claimed the NCAA 100- and 200-yard backstroke titles in 1989 and 1990, was a member of the NCAA champion 400-medley (1989) and 200-medley (1990) relay teams, and was a 13-time All-American. Kristen was inducted into the University of Florida F Club Hall of Fame in 2018.
As for her post-swimming career, Kristen says, “I am most proud that I represent a company that is ethically and morally committed to doing the right thing.” She goes on to say, I am proud to work for people that I respect and admire and that I have been able to build relationships that go beyond business.”
Originally introduced at the 1968 Summer Olympics, Competitor lane lines have been proudly been the choice of 10 of the past 14 Olympic Games. Competitor also is the official partner of the NCAA and USA Swimming, and its lane lines have been used in countless Men’s & Women’s NCAA Championships, numerous high school State Championships, and USA Swimming events across the country.