Feature Article - June 2019
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Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Aquatic respondents from Ys were the most likely to be planning to add aquatic programs at their facilities. One-quarter (25 percent) of Y respondents with aquatics have such plans. They were followed by parks (22.5 percent) and rec centers (20.7 percent). Fewer respondents from health clubs (16 percent), schools (14.7 percent), camps (14 percent), and colleges (13.5 percent) had plans to add aquatic programs at their facilities over the next three years.

The top 10 planned program additions include:

  1. Special needs aquatic programs (planned by 29.9 percent of those who will be adding programs)
  2. Aquatic exercise programs (26.8 percent)
  3. Learn-to-swim for adults (23.6 percent)
  4. Aqua-therapy programs (21 percent)
  5. Water safety programs (19.1 percent)
  6. Youth swim teams (17.2 percent)
  7. Adult swim teams (16.6 percent)
  8. Water polo (14 percent)
  9. Lifeguard training (13.4 percent)
  10. Swim meets and competitions (12.7 percent)

Aquatic respondents from Ys were more likely than others to be planning to add: youth swim teams; adult swim teams; school/collegiate swim teams; special needs programs; and water polo programs.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were more likely than others to be planning to add: learn-to-swim for children; lap swimming; aqua-therapy; and lifeguard training.

Aquatic respondents from parks were more likely than others to be planning to add learn-to-swim programs for adults; aquatic exercise programs; and diving or diving teams.

Finally, aquatic respondents from schools were more likely than others to be planning to add leisure swim, while those from camps were more likely than others to be planning to add water safety programs.

Facility Enhancements

Slightly more aquatic respondents have plans for construction in 2019 compared with 2018. Some 72.3 percent of aquatic respondents in 2019 said they have such plans, compared to 71.8 percent in 2018. This compares with 68.5 percent of non-aquatic respondents who have construction plans in 2019.

Aquatic respondents were more likely than those without aquatics to indicate that they have plans for new construction or for renovations at their existing facilities, while those without aquatics were more likely to be planning additions. Some 55.9 percent of aquatic respondents said they would be making renovations to existing facilities, compared with 48.9 percent of those without aquatics. More than one-third (33.4 percent) of aquatic respondents said they had plans for new construction, compared with 30.6 percent of respondents without aquatics. And nearly one-third (32.4 percent) of aquatic respondents had plans for additions, compared with 34.2 percent of those without aquatics.

Aquatic respondents' average budget for construction grew by 23.8 percent from 2018 to 2019, from an average of $4,630,000 to $5,730,000. This is much higher than the 8.2 percent growth reported by respondents without aquatics (from $3,880,000 to $4,200,000). Aquatic respondents in 2019 were planning to spend 36.4 percent more on their construction plans than those without aquatics.

The top 10 features covered by this survey that are most commonly found among aquatic respondents' facilities include:

  1. Automatic chemical feeders (found among 72 percent of aquatic respondents' facilities)
  2. Pool lifts and accessibility equipment (71.8 percent)
  3. Diving boards (46.6 percent)
  4. Zero-depth entry (41.8 percent)
  5. Waterslides (41.6 percent)
  6. Water play structures (37.6 percent)
  7. Splash pads (29.5 percent)
  8. UV disinfection systems (22.4 percent)
  9. Variable speed pumps (18 percent)
  10. Variable frequency drives (15.1 percent)

Aquatic respondents from park facilities were more likely than others to include: zero-depth entry; lazy rivers; waterslides; water play structures; splash pads; surf simulators; wave pools; and VFDs.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were more likely than others to use UV disinfection, ozone systems and saline chlorination, and were also more likely to include poolside cabanas.

Aquatic respondents from Ys were more likely than others to have automatic chemical feeders; pool lifts and accessibility equipment; and variable speed pumps.

Finally, aquatic respondents from schools were more likely than others to include diving boards, while those from camps were more likely to rely on solar pool heating.