Supplement Feature - February 2021
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Just Keep Swimming

The 2021 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping


Respondents from Ys, schools and colleges were the most likely to indicate that their aquatic facilities are open year-round. Some 89.2% of Y respondents, 87.5% of school respondents and 86.7% of college respondents said they had year-round operations. Respondents from camps were the least likely to be operating year-round. (See Figure 6.)

Not surprisingly, respondents who only had indoor pools were more likely to operate year-round than those who only had outdoor pools. Among those with indoor-only facilities, 89.7% said they operated year-round. This compares with 21.8% of those with outdoor-only facilities.

Among respondents with seasonal operations, May was the most common month for beginning the aquatic season, while September was the most likely month for closing operations for the year. Some 58.4% of those with seasonal operations said their season begins in May, while 24% said they open for the season in June. On the other end of the season, 47.5% of those with seasonal operations close down in September, and 29.3% end their season in August.

Budget Issues

After a relatively sharp increase from 2018 to 2019, aquatic operating costs fell in 2020, for obvious reasons. Pools still had to be maintained, but with fewer swimmers, costs were down, even with the costs associated with managing social distancing requirements. From 2018 to 2019, the average operating costs for aquatic facilities rose 9.4%, from $530,000 to $580,000. In 2020, those costs were down 5.2% from 2019 to an average of $550,000. Looking forward, respondents expected to spend an average of $610,000 in 2021, up 10.9% over 2020, but up just 5.2% over the average cost in 2019. (See Figure 7.)