Feature Article - June 2011
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Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities

By Emily Tipping



Going Solar

With energy conservation measures a top method of saving money at facilities across the board (see page 17), it should come as no surprise that solar pool heating appears on the list of top planned additions at aquatic facilities.

Currently, solar pool heating is most commonly found among respondents from community centers (10 percent) and parks (7 percent). In the next three years, respondents from camps and YMCAs were most likely to be planning to add solar pool heating.

Regionally, solar pool heating is most likely to be found in the West, where 11.1 percent of aquatic respondents reported that they use solar power to heat their pools. They were followed by the Midwest (5.8 percent).

Respondents from the Northeast were most likely to be planning to add solar pool heating. Around 7 percent of aquatic respondents from this region said they have such plans. They were followed by the West, where 5.5 percent have such plans, and the South Atlantic, where 5.4 percent plan to add solar pool heating.


Hot tubs, spas and whirlpools were a popular choice for health clubs, where more than three-quarters (76.5 percent) of aquatic respondents had them. They were followed by YMCAs (61 percent). Around a third of suburban aquatic respondents (33.2 percent) and urban aquatic respondents 31.1 percent) said they included hot tubs, spas or whirlpools in their facilities, while less than a quarter (24 percent) of aquatic respondents from rural areas had them. Regionally, 37.9 percent of aquatic respondents from the West had hot tubs. This compares with just 22.4 percent of South Central states.

The use of the aquatic facilities covered by the survey was heavily dominated by leisure and recreation. Only 1.3 percent of facilities were used for competition only. More than half (53 percent) were used for a combination of competition and leisure. Another 45.6 percent were used for leisure and recreation only. (See Figure 36.)

Facilities designated for competition only were primarily found among respondents working at colleges and universities, and schools and school districts. At college facilities, just 34.6 percent of aquatic respondents said their pools were meant for leisure and recreation only, while 62.6 percent said their pools are used for a combination of leisure and competition. Another 2.8 percent said their pools were for competition only. At school districts, 4.9 percent of aquatic respondents said their facilities were for leisure and recreation, while 78 percent were for a combination of leisure and competition, and 17.1 percent were for competition only.