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Feature Article - June 2017

Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Programming

The majority of aquatic respondents reported that they offer aquatic programming at their facilities, from swimming lessons and water safety to aquatic exercise, lifeguard training and more. Some 95.2 percent of aquatic respondents said they provide aquatic programming. This includes 100 percent of aquatic respondents from YMCAs, health clubs and schools. Among college respondents with aquatics, 99.1 percent provide aquatic programs. Respondents from community sports and recreation centers, parks and camps were the least likely to provide aquatic programming, though 93.8 percent, 93.3 percent and 90.7 percent, respectively, said they do provide such programs.

The top 10 aquatic programs currently offered at aquatic facilities is virtually the same as last year, with just one position change, and some slight variation in the percentage offering each type of program. The top 10 programs offered include:

  1. Leisure swim (included at 87.1 percent of aquatic facilities)
  2. Learn-to-swim for children (80.5 percent)
  3. Lap swim (74.9 percent)
  4. Lifeguard training (71.3 percent)
  5. Aquatic exercise programs (67.1 percent)
  6. Water safety programs (60.6 percent)
  7. Learn-to-swim for adults (60 percent)
  8. Youth swim teams (55.5 percent)
  9. Swim meets and competitions (48 percent)
  10. Special needs aquatic programs (38.6 percent)

Programs that saw an increase of at least 2 percentage points in the number of respondents providing them include special needs aquatic programs (up 3.6 from 35 percent) and water safety programs (up 2.7 from 57.9 percent).

Aquatic respondents from Ys were more likely than others to provide leisure swim, learn-to-swim for children, lifeguard training, water safety programs, learn-to-swim for adults and special needs aquatic programs.

Aquatic respondents from schools were more likely than others to report that they provide youth swim teams, swim meets and competitions, school and collegiate swim teams, adult swim teams, and diving or diving teams.

Respondents from health clubs with aquatics were more likely than others to provide lap swim, aquatic exercise programs and aqua-therapy programs.

Finally, aquatic respondents from colleges and universities were more likely than those from other types of facilities to provide water polo programs.

The percentage of aquatic respondents who plan to add new programs at their facilities over the next few years remained virtually unchanged from 2016 to 2017. In 2016, 18.2 percent were planning to add programs, and in 2017, 18.3 percent have such plans.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were the most likely to be planning to add aquatic programs at their facilities. Some 25.5 percent of health club respondents with aquatics had such plans. More than one-fifth of respondents from community sports and recreation centers (24.6 percent), Ys (23 percent) and schools (21.9 percent) also had plans to add aquatic programs at their facilities. Camps were the least likely to report that they were planning to add aquatic programs, with 12.3 percent of these respondents indicating they would do so. They were followed by colleges (14.3 percent) and parks (17.5 percent).

The top 10 planned program additions include:

  1. Special needs aquatic programs (planned by 24.7 percent of those who will be adding programs)
  2. Learn-to-swim for adults (23.5 percent)
  3. Aquatic exercise programs (23.5 percent)
  4. Youth swim teams (15.9 percent)
  5. Adult swim teams (15.9 percent)
  6. Aqua-therapy programs (15.3 percent)
  7. Water safety programs (13.5 percent)
  8. Lifeguard training (13.5 percent)
  9. Water polo (12.4 percent)
  10. Learn-to-swim for children (11.2 percent)

Aquatic respondents from schools and school districts were the most likely to be planning to add: youth swim teams, water polo, learn-to-swim for children, school and collegiate swim teams, diving and diving teams, and lap swim.

Aquatic respondents from Ys were the most likely to be planning to add aqua-therapy programs, swim meets and competitions, and leisure swim.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were most likely to be planning to add water safety programs and lifeguard training.

Aquatic respondents from camps were the most likely to be planning to add learn-to-swim for adults and aquatic exercise programs.

Aquatic respondents from parks were the most likely to be planning to add special needs aquatic programs.

Aquatic respondents from community sports and recreation centers were the most likely to be planning to add adult swim teams.