Feature Article - June 2012
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Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Respondents from parks and recreation organizations and camp facilities were the least likely to offer aquatic programming, though a vast majority did so. Some 91.3 percent of parks respondents and 93.1 percent of camps respondents said they offer aquatic programming.

Slightly fewer respondents in 2012 indicated that they have plans to add aquatic programming over the next three years. In 2011, 20.1 percent of aquatics respondents had such plans. In 2012, that number falls slightly to 18 percent. The most commonly planned program additions include:

  1. Special needs aquatic programs (32.8 percent of respondents with plans to add aquatic programming)
  2. Learn-to-swim for adults (28.7 percent)
  3. Aquatic exercise programs (28.7 percent)
  4. Aquatic therapy programs (23.6 percent)
  5. Adult swim teams (19 percent)
  6. Learn-to-swim for children (16.9 percent)
  7. Youth swim teams (16.9 percent)
  8. Water polo (16.9 percent)
  9. Water safety programs (14.9 percent)
  10. Lifeguard training (12.8 percent)

Water polo did not appear on the list of top 10 planned programs in 2011. It is most commonly planned for addition by community recreation and sports centers, YMCAs, and schools and school districts. Other program areas that showed significant growth in 2012 over 2011 include learn-to-swim for adults (up 5.2 percentage points), aquatic exercise programs (up 5.2), aquatic therapy programs (up 4.7) and adult swim teams (up 2.4).

Other areas saw a slight drop in the percentage of respondents who planned to add them over the next three years. Learn-to-swim for children fell 5.7 percentage points in 2012, water safety fell 4.5 points and lifeguard training fell 4.3 points. Dropping off the list entirely were swim meets and competitions, which saw a drop of 2.6 percentage points.

Respondents from community recreation and sports centers were the most likely to be planning to add programs at their facilities. Some 28.2 percent of respondents from these facilities were planning new programs over the next three years. They were more likely than other facility types to be planning to add aquatic exercise programs, adult swim teams, water polo, water safety programs, diving and diving teams, and swim meets and competitions.

YMCAs were second most likely to be planning to add new aquatic programming at their facilities. More than a quarter (25.3 percent) of these respondents are planning new program additions over the next three years. They were more likely than other facility types to be planning to add special needs aquatic programs, aquatic therapy programs and youth swim teams.

Learn-to-swim for adults was most commonly planned by parks and recreation organizations. College and university respondents were more likely than other facility types to be planning to add learn-to-swim for children, diving and diving teams, and swim teams. Health clubs were more likely than other facility types to be planning to add lifeguard training, as well as lap swimming and leisure swimming.

Respondents from schools and school districts, as well as camp facilities were the least likely to be planning to add new programs at their facilities. Just 10 percent of schools respondents and 12.1 percent of camp respondents reported that they had plans to add aquatic programs over the next three years.