A new study of the top 10 swimming pools in Australia has found some of the biggest draws are also the most crowded.
In fact, the top three pools in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are among the most popular with an average crowd of around 6,400 people per pool, while the top two in Melbourne and Sydney are even bigger with a crowd of more than 9,500.
But there are some caveats to this analysis, according to Dr. Peter J. Wilson of the Australian Swimming Institute.
“We don’t have a really good understanding of the crowding,” he said.
“For example, the number of people entering and leaving the pool is fairly variable and we know that when you have a lot of people, there’s more chance of them getting into the pool.”
Dr. Wilson also noted that pool admission prices can vary widely.
“So for example, you might have a pool with a price of $20 for adults, but you can get a cheaper price for children and kids under 12,” he explained.
“And so there’s some degree of variability.”
The study, which was released on Tuesday, looked at a total of 8,788 adult swim events in the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland.
Dr. J.J. Wilson, the Australian swimming institute, says it’s important to note that while the overall number of adult swimmers is growing, the crowds are becoming smaller.
“It’s really important to recognise that in our sport, our adult swim pool crowds are not growing,” he told ABC Radio National’s RN Breakfast.
“They are shrinking, but they are increasing in terms of size.”
The survey found that the top four adult swim destinations in Australia, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, have a combined capacity of around 10,500 people per night.
The top five pools in Perth and Sydney have capacity of more like 10,000 to 10,400, with Sydney’s top pool, The Pool at Circular Quay, the largest in Australia.
Dr Wilson said it was important to keep in mind that the crowd size can be affected by other factors, such as whether or not people are paying for a swim.
“When you see a large crowd at a venue, it’s probably not a good sign,” he noted.
“If you’ve got a crowd, it can really reduce the number and number of swimmers who get in and get out of the pool.
So, you’d probably want to check to make sure that the people you’re trying to get in are actually paying.”
Dr Wilson also said there was a need for more research on the crowd at adult swim venues.
“I think we really need to have a look at the crowd in other arenas, whether it’s a sport, whether they’re public events, whether there are other factors at play that affect the crowd,” he concluded.