It can be a challenge to incorporate recreational programming within competitive pool spaces, while ensuring both programs meet their full potential. However, an improved bottom line through additional revenue streams and less downtime in your aquatics facility might be worth the extra planning and coordination. Plus, there are a lot of fresh, fun and inclusive recreational programming options that can make your competitive pool space into one that's used by all walks of life within your community.

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(conference Nov. 7-10, expo Nov. 8-9) in New Orleans, La., and get insights, ideas and fresh perspectives for your facilities and programs. Learn more at abshow.com.

Aquatics facilities around the world are now hosting both competitive and recreational programming under one roof. No doubt there are several factors to consider, including event acoustics, water and air quality, pool depth, lighting and more. If you're planning a new aquatics facility, it's also important to make sure the layout allows for quick and easy access to all pools, spectator areas, changing rooms, competitive locker rooms, recreational areas and saunas.

For existing aquatics facilities, start by taking an audit of your space, current pool use schedules and staff to determine which activities are best suited to the pool depth and space available, as well as what times are best for reaching additional demographics. For instance, Saturday mornings may be optimal for learn-to-swim classes with adequate space and minimal distractions, while on weekday mid-mornings a dormant pool can be filled with seniors looking for a water aerobics class. The possibilities of unique programming options to integrate with your competitive pool are only limited by your imagination.

Aquatics program coordinators are not lacking in creativity. Pools around the world are now adding everything from water climbing walls and hydrotherapy sessions to swim-up movies, learn-to-swim classes, water basketball and water pole dancing classes (yes, you read that correctly). Allowing recreational and competitive programming to coincide can create an inclusionary environment in your facility, build community and inspire the young participants of your recreational programming as they inhabit the same spaces as your elite athletes — all while improving your bottom line.

Want to up your aquatics game? AB Show 2018 (Nov. 7-11 in New Orleans) has you covered with an educational track dedicated to enriching your aquatics programming and an expo floor filled with the latest and most innovative product and service offerings to elevate your aquatics facility. Learn more and register at abshow.com/mag.


This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "AB Show: Step Up Your Aquatics Game." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.