Feature Article - June 2009
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A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities

Park districts were the most likely to be planning aquatic programs for patrons with special needs, aquatic exercise programs, and youth and adult swim teams. Health clubs were the most likely to be planning to add learn-to-swim programs for adults and aqua therapy programs. YMCAs bucked some of the overall trends by being more likely than most to be planning to add swim meets and competitions, as well as water polo. And schools were more likely than others to be planning to add lifeguard training at their facilities.

One way you can learn to improve your own profitability is at this year's World Aquatic Health Conference (www.nspf.org/WAHC_2009.html). Lachocki said that because of the economy, the NSPF is changing some of the focus of the meeting to provide education that will help facilities. "We're seeing facilities closing, not running programs effectively," he said. With the education lineup at the conference, the organization and its partners aim to help you address this kind of problem.

Lachocki explained that USA Swimming will talk about ensuring a new facility includes enough diversity in the design to reach more potential patrons, as well as highlighting the different programming pillars that hold up a facility, such as vertical exercise, aquatic therapy and learn-to-swim programs. "Those are for both kids and adults, as well as people who have fear of the water," Lachocki said. "They'll also talk about competitive swimming and swim clubs, including master swimming."

In addition, he said, "The U.S. Swim School Association will talk about how they help the facility have learn-to-swim and do it better. Representatives from the Aquatic Exercise Association will talk about vertical exercise and marketing that. A rep from Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute will talk about incorporating therapy programs. Organizations from all of those areas will help equip aquatic facilities with resources to help them be better."

If you can't attend the conference in person, you can rest assured knowing the content will be available online following the conference.

"It's important to raise the bar and become better," Lachocki said. "When we come out of this recession, we want to make sure we're ready for the next one."