Feature Article - June 2015
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Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


The type of facilities where different types of aquatic features are predominant are fairly easy to predict. As one might expect, indoor pools are more typically found among college recreation centers and YMCAs, while outdoor pools are more typical of camps and park facilities.

In fact, indoor pools are most commonly found among aquatic respondents from schools and colleges. Some 86 percent of school respondents with aquatic had indoor pools, and 85.7 percent of college respondents with pools had them. More than seven in 10 aquatic respondents from YMCAs (79.1 percent) and health clubs (73.5 percent) also had indoor swimming pools. They were least common among camp facilities, where just 6.3 percent of aquatic respondents had indoor pools, and park facilities (38.6 percent).

Outdoor swimming pools were most commonly found among aquatic respondents from camps and parks. Some 88.5 percent of aquatic respondents from camps and 73 percent of aquatic respondents from parks had outdoor pools. They were followed by health clubs (64.7 percent) and community centers (64.4 percent). Respondents from schools (20 percent) and colleges (23.5 percent) were least likely to have outdoor pools.

Splash play areas were most common among aquatic respondents from parks, where more than half (55.3 percent) reported having splash play areas. More than three in 10 aquatic respondents from community centers (36.7 percent) and health clubs (32.4 percent) also said they had splash play areas. No schools reported having splash play areas. They were also uncommon at colleges, where just 6.6 percent of aquatic respondents said their facilities included splash play.

Waterparks were also most common among aquatic respondents from parks, with 24.3 percent of these respondents indicating they had waterparks. More than one in 10 aquatic respondents from camps (12.5 percent) and community centers (12.2 percent) also said they had waterparks.

Hot tubs, whirlpools and spas were most common for aquatic respondents from community centers and health clubs, where 80 percent and 73.5 percent, respectively, said they included them. They were least common for parks, where just 17.4 percent said they had hot tubs.

As in past years, the vast majority of pools covered in the survey are used for recreation or for a combination of recreation and competition. There are very few competition-only pools. Just 1.7 percent of aquatic respondents indicated that their pools were used for competition only. More than half (53.9 percent) said their pools were used for a combination of leisure and competition. And 44.4 percent said their pools were used for leisure and recreation. (See Figure 36.)

Pools used for competition only were more commonly found among schools than any other facility type. More than a quarter (26.5 percent) of aquatics respondents from schools said their aquatic facilities were used for competition only. They were followed by colleges, where 2.6 percent use their facilities just for competition. The only other facility type that reported having any competition-only pools at all was park respondents, where 0.4 percent have competition-only pools.

Pools used for leisure and recreation but not for competition were most common among camp respondents. Some 90 percent of aquatic respondents from camps said their pools were just for leisure and recreation. They were followed by community centers (50 percent) and health clubs (41.2 percent). Schools were least likely to feature recreation-only pools. Just 8.2 percent of aquatic respondents from schools said their pools were used only for leisure and recreation.

Pools used for a combination of recreation and competition were most common among YMCA respondents, followed by schools. Some 67.6 percent of aquatics respondents from Ys and 65.3 percent of aquatic respondents from schools said their pools were used for a combination of recreation and competition. Camps were least likely to feature aquatic facilities for both purposes, with just 10 percent indicating they supported recreation and competition in their aquatic facilities.