Feature Article - June 2009
Find a printable version here


A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities

Increase Interest With Programming

Properly programming your aquatic facility and ensuring access for all who want to take a dip is another essential step to ensuring the facility's success. A majority (92.7 percent) of aquatic facilities respondents to our survey indicated that they do include programming of some kind at their pools.

These programs are led by leisure swim programs, offered at 82.7 percent of aquatic facilities. Nearly three-quarters offer learn-to-swim programs for children (74.4 percent) or lap swimming (72.4 percent). Around two-thirds offer lifeguard training (69.4 percent) and aquatic exercise programs (64.9 percent). And more than half offer water safety programs (56 percent) and learn-to-swim programs for adults (54.7 percent).

This represents very little change from last year. While leisure swim was the most popular program across the board, it was not the most common program at all types of facilities. At park facilities, for example, learn-to-swim programs for children were the most popular, offered by 88 percent of park respondents with aquatic facilities. Among colleges and universities, on the other hand, lap swim was the most common, offered by 90.5 percent of respondents. At schools and school districts, which represent the only departure from the leisure-focus of the other respondents, swim meets and competitions and school swim teams were predominant. These programs could be found at 90.9 of schools' aquatic facilities. At health clubs, leisure swim was one of the main programs delivered, tied with lap swimming and aquatic exercise—87.5 percent of health club aquatic facilities offer these programs. Learn-to-swim for children was most likely to be found in YMCAs, where 97.7 percent with aquatic facilities said they include such programs.

When it comes to planning for the future, more than a fifth (21.5 percent) of respondents indicated that they do plan to add more aquatic programs in the next three years. These were led by:

  1. Special needs aquatic programs
  2. Aquatic exercise programs
  3. Learn-to-swim for adults
  4. Aqua-therapy
  5. Youth swim teams and adult swim teams (tied)