Supplement Feature - January 2022
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Calmer Waters

The 2022 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping


The 10 most commonly planned additions at aquatic facilities include:

  • Poolside climbing walls (planned by 28.2% of those who will be adding features, up from 21.2% in 2020)
  • Shade structures (19.4%, down from 28.2%)
  • Pool inflatables (17.7%, down from 21.2%)
  • Pool slides (15.3%, no change)
  • Underwater treadmills or bikes (12.9%, up from 12.4%)
  • Pool lifts and accessibility equipment (12.1%, down from 14.7%)
  • Pool obstacle courses (12.1%, did not appear in 2020)
  • Pool exercise equipment (12.1%, down from 12.9%)
  • Lifeguard stands (11.3%, up from 10%)
  • Water playgrounds (11.3%, down from 14.1%)

Some 28.6% of Y respondents said they had plans to add features to their aquatic facilities, down from 30.3% in 2020. They were more likely than other respondents to be planning to add: pool slides, water coasters, river raft rides, poolside climbing walls, pool obstacle courses, lily pads or water walks, diving platforms, diving boards, wave pools, surf machines, water polo equipment, water basketball equipment, water volleyball equipment, scoreboards, swim platforms, and swim walls or pool bulkheads.

Respondents from camps were the most likely to be planning to add pool inflatables, pool exercise equipment, underwater treadmills or bikes, zero-depth entry, shade structures and lifeguard stands.

Rec center respondents were the most likely to be planning to add starting platforms, lane lines, teaching platforms, pool lifts and accessibility equipment, and poolside cabanas.

Finally, respondents from parks were the most likely to be planning to add water playgrounds and lazy rivers.

Programming

While not every aquatic facility provides programming (splash pads, for example, or swimming pools at campgrounds), most respondents to the Aquatic Trends survey indicated that they do provide programs at their aquatic facilities, such as swimming lessons, aquatic exercise and birthday parties. Some 96% of respondents said they do currently provide programming at their facilities, representing virtually no change from 2020, when 95.9% provided programming. A full 100% of respondents from schools, Ys and rec centers said they currently provide programming at their facilities. Respondents from camps were the least likely to do so, though nearly nine out of 10 (89.5%) camp respondents said they do provide programming at their aquatic facilities. (See Figure 19.)

The following are the types of programs covered in the survey and their prevalence among respondents' offerings:

  • Learn-to-Swim Programs (77.7%)
  • Lifeguard Training (77.1%)
  • Leisure Swim Time (74.1%)
  • Lap Swim Time (72.5%)
  • Aquatic Aerobics (63.9%)
  • Birthday Parties (57.2%)
  • Water Safety Training (55%)
  • Youth Swim Teams (54.8%)
  • Swim Meets & Other Competitions (48.2%)
  • Aquatic Programs for Those With Physical Disabilities (36.5%)
  • School Swim Teams (35.1%)
  • Aquatic Programs for Those With Developmental Disabilities (30.9%)
  • Water Walking (29.3%)
  • Dive-In Movies (23.1%)
  • Aquatic Therapy (17.5%)
  • Adult Swim Teams (17.5%)
  • Aqua-Yoga & Other Balance Programs (20.3%)
  • Diving Programs & Teams (16.9%)
  • Water Polo (16.5%)
  • Collegiate Swim Teams (11.6%)
  • Doggie Dips (10.2%)

Programs that saw an increase of at least one percentage point over 2020 include: lifeguard training (up 1 percentage point); school swim teams (up 1.8); aquatic programs for those with physical disabilities (up 1.9); and aquatic programs for those with developmental disabilities (up 2.9).