Supplement Feature - January 2022
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Calmer Waters

The 2022 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping

Whether the programming is aquatic or not, Ys tend to provide a wider variety of offerings than other respondent types, and this year's Aquatic Trends survey proves no exception. Respondents from Ys were more likely than others to provide: learn-to-swim programming; youth swim teams; aquatic programming for those with physical disabilities; aquatic aerobics; aqua-yoga and balance programs; water walking; leisure swim time; lap swim time; aquatic therapy; water safety training; and lifeguard training.

Respondents from schools were the most likely to provide school swim teams; aquatic programming for those with developmental disabilities; swim meets and competitions; and diving programs and teams.

College respondents were the most likely to provide adult swim teams; collegiate swim teams; water polo; and dive-in movies.

Finally, respondents from parks were the most likely to provide birthday parties and doggie dips at their aquatic facilities.

Slightly fewer respondents in 2021 said that they have plans to add additional programs at their facilities over the next three years. Some 23.1% of respondents said they had such plans, down from 25.5% in 2020. Respondents from rec centers were by far the most likely to indicate that they would be adding programming at their aquatic facilities. In fact, the number of rec center respondents with plans to add programs more than doubled, from 15.4% in 2020 to 31.8% in 2021. Camp respondents were also more likely to be planning to add programs in 2021, with 20.5% indicating they had such plans, up from 17.6% in 2020. School respondents were the least likely to be planning new programming, with just 9.1% indicating they had such plans, down from 21.9% in 2020. (See Figure 20.)

The top 10 most commonly planned program additions include:

  • Programs for those with physical disabilities (planned by 28.8% of those who will be adding programs, down from 30% in 2019)
  • Programs for those with developmental disabilities (28.8%, up from 26.1%)
  • Aqua-yoga and other balance programs (28%, up from 24.2%)
  • Aquatic aerobics (24.6%, up from 18.8%)
  • Dive-in movies (23.7%, down from 29.1%)
  • Learn-to-swim programs (19.5%, up from 16.4%)
  • Youth swim teams (16.1%, up from 10.3%)
  • Adult swim teams (16.1%, up from 10.9%)
  • Birthday parties (13.6%, up from 9.7%)
  • Doggie dips (13.6%, up from 9.1%)

When it comes to learn-to-swim programming, children are generally the audience we think of, but in fact, many facilities offer learn-to-swim programming for a wide variety of ages. We asked the 77.7% of respondents who offer learn-to-swim programs some further questions about the audience they reach with their programs.