Feature Article - June 2012
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A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities

From fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2011, more than half (56.6 percent) of aquatic respondents reported that their revenues for aquatic facilities remained the same. Nearly three out of 10 (29.3 percent) reported an increase, and 14.1 percent said they had seen a decrease in revenue. Respondents from community recreation and sports centers were the most likely to report an increase in aquatic revenues, with 43.7 percent of these respondents indicating they had seen an increase. Respondents from YMCAs were most likely to report that they had seen a decrease, with 19 percent indicating their revenues had fallen. Respondents from parks and recreation organizations saw the most volatile revenues between 2010 and 2011, with only 41.6 percent indicating their revenues had remained the same. A third (33.4 percent) reported increases in revenue, while 17.8 percent reported a decrease.

The number of respondents who are expecting their aquatic revenues to increase over the next couple of years is on the rise, while those expecting a decrease drops. In 2012, 30.7 percent are expecting revenues to increase, and in 2013, that number rises to 31.4 percent. Conversely, in 2012, 10.3 percent of respondents expect their aquatics revenues to drop, and that number falls to 7.3 percent in 2013.

Respondents from community sports and recreation centers were most likely to be expecting aquatic revenues to increase in 2012 and 2013, while respondents from parks were more likely than other respondents to be expecting a decrease in 2012, and camps were more likely than other facility types to be expecting a decrease in 2013.


There was a slight increase in the percentage of respondents who offer programming at their aquatic facilities, from 93.7 percent in 2011 to 94.4 percent in 2012. The top 10 programs offered are unchanged from 2011, though some categories have seen slight increases. The top 10 programs currently offered at aquatic facilities include:

  1. Leisure swim (90.7 percent)
  2. Learn-to-swim for children (81.7 percent)
  3. Lap swim (78.9 percent)
  4. Lifeguard training (74.8 percent)
  5. Aquatic exercise programs (71 percent)
  6. Learn-to-swim for adults (62.7 percent)
  7. Water safety programs (62.2 percent)
  8. Youth swim teams (58.3 percent)
  9. Swim meets and competitions (55 percent)
  10. Special needs aquatic programs (38.2 percent)

YMCAs are the most likely to offer aquatic programming, with 100 percent of YMCAs with aquatic elements reporting that they offer programming of one kind or another. In addition, YMCAs are the most likely to offer nearly every type of programming. YMCAs are more likely than other facility types to offer leisure swim, learn-to-swim for children and adults, lap swimming, lifeguard training, aquatic exercise programs, water safety programs, youth swim teams, special needs aquatic programs and adult swim teams.

Respondents from colleges and universities, and schools and school districts were also among those most likely to offer programming of any kind, with 99.5 percent of college respondents and 98 percent of schools respondents offering aquatic programs. Schools were more likely than other facility types to offer swim meets and competitions, swim teams and diving teams. Colleges were more likely than other facility types to offer water polo. Respondents from health clubs were more likely than other facility types to offer aquatic therapy programs.