Activity: The aquatic centre

Heather is a psychology student, who also works at a community aquatic centre. Her role at the aquatic centre is to provide support for the visitors and members of the centre. She enjoys her job and makes a special effort to know as many people as possible. However, she can’t help analysing the members.

Although all members are entitled to unlimited use of the centre facilities some members use the facilities more than others. Some, like Sandra and Joe attend the aquatic centre every day; they are members of Masters Swimming Club and compete regularly. Mary is also a member of the Masters Swimming Club, she is a senior’s cardholder, however, it appears as if it is more of a social outing for Mary. Seniors, who account for 25% of the members, enjoy a generous discount on their aquatic centre memberships. Some members are on a tight budget and maximise the value of their membership. One such member is Sophie – a single mum; three times a week she drops her children off at the on-site crèche before working out at the gym. Sometimes, on a Saturday morning, Sophie joins a Pilate class. On these occasions her mum looks after her children while they swim in the children’s pool. Then there is the group of amateur footballers that meet every Sunday morning during the football season. This group have a swim, a spa and a sauna; they are a rowdy bunch and sometimes they upset other members – particularly the female members. Heather has also become friendly with the professional swimming coaches; they have regular bookings and hire lanes for talented young swimmers. Heather feels sorry for the young swimmers; they are at the centre every morning, even in winter; swimming up and down. Heather wonders what drives them to be so committed; perhaps it is their parents. She thinks there are a few parents that ‘need a life’, they take photos on their phones and upload them to Facebook. Others visitors are like Paul and Simone, they pay each time they come, because it is cheaper than four memberships. Paul and Simone bring their four-year-old twins every Saturday morning. The twins splash about the toddler’s pool and then Paul gets them a bucket of hot chips from the café before they leave.

Perhaps it is meeting all the different types that makes Heather’s job so enjoyable. However, there is one time that Heather dreads; school swimming carnivals, the noise is deafening – and the mum’s are more competitive than the children, the mums get all dressed up for a swimming carnival and boy can they yell.

Identify any of the following segments in the vignette: the aquatic centre?

  • Competitive swimmers who are members of clubs
  • Social swimmers who are members of clubs
  • Regular swimmers
  • School groups
  • Parents with children who are casual users
  • Children
  • Fitness class participants
  • Sauna and spa users
  • Demographic variables
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