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opinion


Everyone Active operates 96 swimming pool sites and has seen a 19 per cent increase in casual swims in the last year


performance feedback, Swimtag allows us to gather a mass of intelligence on the pool activity of our users. As well as creating individual activity records, hugely important in the delivery of pathway programmes such as Swim4Health, we can gather and interrogate data, helping to develop products and programmes which better address the specific activities and needs of our users.


the sector needs to embrace poolside technology as it has in the gym


In the past, swimming has been a very


solitary experience. Swimtag has helped to make the activity more social through the running of cloud based challenges and competitions. The #RuleThePool competition, available across all sites, attracts 600-700 participants every week and this is just one challenge of many in progress at any one time. There are currently 5,551 of our swimmers taking part in competitions and 6,334 have taken part in one or more challenges. Between 6,000 and 7,000 swimmers, from





Mark Haslam, head of swimming and sport, PFPL Despite the sector constantly investing in innovations to encourage participation in our gyms, a user’s pool experience has remained largely unchanged. We are changing this by bringing gym-style tracking, monitoring and booking systems to the poolside. The most significant introduction has been


Swimtag. The system is available, free to all swimmers, at all pools and is integral to our pool offer. In addition to enhancing the user experience through the provision of gym-style activity and


casual lane swimmers to participants in signposted health products, use the technology every month. Over the next few months, we will introduce


Swimtag lane displays across the estate to enable swimmers to gain live feedback on activity and performance whilst in the pool. These will also bring some much-needed visible signs of innovation to the poolside. Over the last few years, swim only


memberships have grown by 18 per cent and casual pool usage is up 2 per cent. Swimming accounts for 46 per cent of our overall income. In addition, we are evidencing success encouraging participants on pathway


pactfacilities.co.uk 25


programmes into regular, longer term activity. For example, 43 per cent of Swim4Health participants go on to purchase a swim membership at the end of the programme. These are people who are unlikely to have ever walked through the doors of a leisure centre without this intervention. This statistic is very conservative since it does not take in to account any other participants who may continue to swim on a more casual basis. The sector needs to working collaboratively


with other providers and influencers to drive national participation. We are evidencing increased participations in localities served by our managed pools, but we manage only a tiny fraction of the 3,000+ pools across the UK. To affect positive change in all communities, operators need to work together, sharing best practice and promoting the many benefits of swimming. Collectively the sector also needs to embrace poolside technology in the way it has in the gym.


www.everyoneactive.com www.placesforpeopleleisure.org www.totalswimming.co.uk


PfPL operates 73 pools across 35 local authority partners





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