Evolving Swim Facilities Trends That Will Influence Your Business
Like a lot of businesses in the sports industry, swim facilities have faced a challenging couple of years in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. From shutting down businesses during the early days of the pandemic to now paving the path back to normalcy, it's safe to say that swim schools and clubs have encountered more than their fair share of obstacles along the way.
However, swimming remains a highly desirable and popular activity today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is currently fourth on the list of the most popular recreational sports in America.
Today, USA Swimming has over 3,100 swimming clubs that help over 400,000 members across the country have structured workouts with professional coaches. Additionally, US Masters Swimming has 1,500 clubs or workout groups for more than 60,000 adult recreational and competitive swimmers. With physical and mental health growing increasingly important today, the importance of these swim clubs is greater than ever before.
If swim facilities are to expand their member base and enhance the experience, they will first need to understand the latest trends influencing the world of aquatic sports. In this article, we will explore the swim facility trends that are emerging today in order to prepare for a better tomorrow. So without further ado, let's dive in!
Turning the page on COVID-19
COVID-19 disrupted life as we knew it and swimming was no exception. Athletes throughout the world had to adapt quickly to life indoors. Local, regional, and national governments restricted utilization of swimming pools, despite evidence that indicated that swimming pools were among the safest environments for social interaction. The restriction to swimming pool access meant that regular pool training came to a grinding halt. In fact, a study by Swim England estimates that over 2 million children in the UK missed out on swimming lessons during the pandemic.
- Athletes initially suffered from the effects of detraining, brought on by the lack of pool time or consistent exercise. Athletes and coaches soon found ways to work around this by training indoors.
- The pandemic also had a significant impact on mental health, with in-person interactions reduced to a minimum and more time spent indoors. Overcoming the psychological and emotional impact of the last two years will now take conscious and consistent efforts.
- According to the latest Aquatic Trends Report, about 67% of surveyed aquatic centers reopened all of their facilities in 2021, seeking a return to life as it was before the pandemic. Swim clubs and schools continue to follow the guidelines set out by USA Swimming as well as the CDC to ensure the highest standards of safety and hygiene are maintained at their facilities.
As athletes return to the pool, they will first need to resume workouts and reach full fitness again so they can contribute to successful events around the world. Seeking support and guidance for their mental health will also go a long way towards helping the swimming world recover and truly leave the pandemic behind.
Raising the bar with technology
We have come a long way from working with manual timers or using nothing more than a simple whiteboard to organize our activities. Today, the work of swim schools is supported by a wealth of gilt-edged tools that navigate the sea of information and refine the experience for their teams and students. Every aspect of the swim school experience can be optimized with technology, encouraging higher levels of participation and profitability.
- Touchpads and video equipment are used by swim clubs to track individual performances and other data without error and have saved significant human effort as a result. They are now essential to any swim club and build credibility in their brand. More importantly, it makes the collected data all the more valuable, helping instructors and coaches work more efficiently with their classes.
- Swim clubs now also have access to a variety of equipment created specifically for aquatic sports and competitions. A diverse range of equipment - from paddles, fins, and snorkels to pull buoys, power racks, and resistance bands - helps athletes train and perform better in the water.
- While all these solutions have been designed to support improved sporting performances, there are also solutions built specifically to improve the swim school and swim club experience. From easier check-ins to smoother management of class registrations and a personal touch to member communication, today’s swim school and club management software solutions offer a variety of tools to simplify and streamline the experience for members.
As solutions continue to develop, there will be greater opportunities to improve swim club operations and training methods to help athletes deliver their best results. Swim clubs will need to stay on the lookout for these developments in order to find the right solutions that will help them harness their potential in the most effective manner.
Increasing outreach for greater inclusion
Outreach has been a significant challenge for aquatic centers recently. In fact, in 2021, the Aquatic Trends Report by Recreation Management noted that 17% of the surveyed facilities found it challenging to reach and connect with the underrepresented sections of society.
- This is why a movement like ‘Every Child a Swimmer’ bears greater relevance today. The movement was born in Fort Lauderdale in the 1960s to educate children and save lives. It has had a fair impact since then, bringing down the fatality rate to 1 per 100,000 every year.
- The pace picked up in 2019, when the International Swimming Hall of Fame took responsibility for the mission. Since then, the State of Florida has also passed legislation mandating the education of parents in local water safety resources as well as the swim schools located in the region.
- Swim facilities across the country are also offering more Learn-to-Swim programs to invite people of all ages to pick up a life-saving skill with the help of proper instruction. The USA Swimming Foundation also offers annual grants to both youth and adults who wish to learn swimming.
It’s a difficult responsibility to shoulder, but with the support of local groups and swim schools and clubs, each community can be reached - their people seen and their challenges met. As outreach continues to gather pace with the help of state and national agencies, one can hope to see bigger changes being implemented in the near future and more people being educated as a consequence in the long run.
As your team tracks these evolving trends and finds ways to adapt, you will need all the help you can get to create the best experience at your swim club. If you would like to make sure your team or club is backed by the right tools to optimize their operations and deliver the highest standards of service, Omnify offers swim schools and clubs an all-in-one class scheduling and management solution through an intuitive and easy-to-use platform. To find out how Omnify would work for your operational needs, sign up for a FREE TRIAL and get started today!