Feature Article - June 2015
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Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Programming

The vast majority of aquatic respondents offer aquatic programming at their facilities, from swimming lessons and teams to water polo and more. Some 95 percent of aquatic respondents said they offer aquatic programming. Respondents from health clubs were the most likely to offer such programs, with 100 percent of these respondents reporting that they provide aquatic programs. They were followed by YMCAs (99.1 percent) and schools (98 percent).

The top 10 programs offered at aquatic facilities include:

  1. Leisure swim (included at 84.8 percent of aquatic facilities)
  2. Learn-to-swim for children (77.3 percent)
  3. Lap swim (72.7 percent)
  4. Lifeguard training (70.4 percent)
  5. Aquatic exercise programs (65.2 percent)
  6. Learn-to-swim for adults (59.1 percent)
  7. Water safety programs (57.4 percent)
  8. Youth swim teams (52.6 percent)
  9. Swim meets and competitions (48.3 percent)
  10. Special needs aquatic programs (34.9 percent)

There was very little change in the percentage of respondents who offer each of these programs, and in fact, none of the programs listed in the top 10 changed positions from 2014 to 2015.

Aquatic respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to provide leisure swim, learn-to-swim for children, lifeguard training, water safety programs, youth swim teams, special needs programs, and aqua-therapy.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were the most likely to provide lap swim, aquatic exercise, and learn-to-swim for adults.

Aquatic respondents from schools were the most likely to provide swim meets and competitions, school or collegiate swim teams, and diving or diving teams.

Finally, aquatic respondents from colleges were the most likely to provide adult swim teams and water polo.


Nearly a fifth (19.8 percent) of aquatic respondents reported that they have plans to add aquatic programs at their facilities over the next three years, up from 16 percent in 2014. Respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to have such plans. Some 24.5 percent of aquatic respondents from YMCAs said they would be adding programs. They were followed by parks (20.8 percent) and colleges (19.9 percent).

The top 10 planned program additions include:

  1. Special needs aquatic programs (planned by 31.5 percent of those who will be adding programs)
  2. Learn-to-swim for adults (24.7 percent)
  3. Adult swim teams (24.3 percent)
  4. Aquatic exercise programs (19.1 percent)
  5. Aqua-therapy (17.5 percent)
  6. Water safety programs (16.7 percent)
  7. Youth swim teams (15.9 percent)
  8. Learn-to-swim for children (15.9 percent)
  9. Swim meets and competitions (14.3 percent)
  10. Lifeguard training (13.1 percent)

There were increases in the percentage of respondents planning to add: special needs programs (up from 28.3 percent in 2014); learn-to-swim for adults (up from 22.8 percent); adult swim teams (up from 21.7 percent); aquatic exercise programs (up from 16.1 percent); and swim meets and competitions (up from 12.7 percent). Youth swim teams did not appear in the top 10 planned programs in 2014. That type of programming replaces water polo on the top 10 list.

Aquatic respondents from schools were the most likely to be planning to add: learn-to-swim for adults; adult swim teams; aquatic exercise programs; aqua-therapy; water polo; diving and diving teams; and leisure swim.

Aquatic respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to be planning to add: special needs programs; water safety; and lifeguard training.

Aquatic respondents from colleges were the most likely to be planning to add swim meets and competitions, and school or collegiate swim teams.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were the most likely to be planning to add youth swim teams, while those from camps were most likely to be planning learn-to-swim for children. Aquatic respondents from parks were the most likely to be planning to add lap swim.