Supplement Feature - January 2022
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Calmer Waters

The 2022 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping


It's become almost cliché to suggest that the rectangular swimming pools of one's childhood are a thing of the past, but the fact is, swimming pools and aquatic facilities come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you're operating a 50-year-old rectangular pool or a more complex aquatic complex, you need to outfit your facility with the proper equipment to support safety, recreational and competitive programming, guest comfort and more.

When it comes to aquatic respondents' facilities, most have standard equipment like lifeguard stands and lane lines, while many include equipment that supports competitive events, recreational and wellness programs and more. Here is a list of in-pool and poolside equipment commonly found among respondents' facilities:

  • Lifeguard Stand: 78.5%
  • Lane Lines: 76.1%
  • Pool Lift or Other Accessibility Equipment: 64%
  • Pool Exercise Equipment: 52.4%
  • Diving Boards: 46.6%
  • Starting Platforms: 46%
  • Pool Slides: 40.3%
  • Shade Structures: 38.7%
  • Zero-Depth Entry: 38.5%
  • Water Basketball Equipment: 29.8%
  • Scoreboard: 27.5%
  • Water Polo Equipment: 20%
  • Pool Inflatables: 19.2%
  • Water Playground: 18%
  • Water Volleyball Equipment: 14.6%
  • Teaching Platform: 14%
  • Lazy River: 12.8%
  • Swim Wall or Pool Bulkhead: 10.5%
  • Poolside Cabanas: 9.9%
  • Diving Platforms: 9.3%
  • Swim Platform 9.1%
  • Poolside Climbing Wall: 7.9%
  • Pool Obstacle Course: 6.1%
  • Lily Pads/Water Walk: 5.7%
  • Underwater Treadmill or Bike: 3.6%
  • Wave Pool: 2.6%
  • River Raft Ride: 1.2%
  • Surf Machine: 1.2%
  • Water Coaster: 0.8%

Features that saw growth of at least one percentage point from 2020 to 2021 included: shade structures (up 4.3 percentage points); pool slides (up 3.6); zero-depth entry (up 3.3); and pool inflatables (up 1.2).

Respondents from parks were more likely than others to include pool slides, poolside climbing walls, lily pads or water walks, water playgrounds, zero-depth entry, lazy rivers and surf machines.

College respondents were the most likely to include diving platforms, lane lines, water polo equipment, water basketball equipment, water volleyball equipment, swim platforms and swim walls or pool bulkheads.

Respondents from schools were the most likely to include diving boards, starting platforms and scoreboards.

Y respondents were the most likely to include pool lifts and other accessibility equipment, pool obstacle courses, pool exercise equipment, and underwater treadmills or bikes.

Finally, respondents from rec centers were the most likely to include lifeguard stands, shade structures, poolside cabanas, wave pools, teaching platforms, pool inflatables, river raft rides, and water coasters.

The number of respondents with plans to add features at their facilities fell in 2021 to 24.3%, down from 26.3% in 2020 and 32% in 2019. Respondents from camps and rec centers were the most likely to have such plans. Some 33.3% of camp respondents and 31.8% of rec center respondents said they would be adding features at their facilities over the next three years. Respondents from schools and colleges were the least likely to be planning to add any new features at their facilities. (See Figure 18.)