After 25 years of swim coaching, Scott Zacharda noticed a trend. Although competitive swimming had become popular in central Pennsylvania, there weren’t enough swim facilities to meet the area’s needs. So after retiring from coaching, Scott and his business partner decided to solve this local problem and build a new, premier aquatic facility.
Scott shared his experience launching Keystone Aquatics Center and how their SwimEx 600 T pool has changed their business model.
Renovating an old tennis club
When looking for a new facility location, Scott immediately looked at The Carlisle Racquet Club which had sat vacant for many years. Scott and his team gutted the old facility and put in a 50-meter pool, which now sits above ground where the tennis court used to be.
During the design phase, Scott opted to add a smaller pool to the facility, and his research led him to acquire their SwimEx 600 T. The pool was originally built in 1993 for the Cleveland Indians, who had recently decided to purchase a new SwimEx pool. Thanks to its durable fiberglass shell, it was in perfect shape for the new aquatics center.
“We wanted our facility to offer a very personalized experience,” Scott said. “I saw how valuable the SwimEx pool could be for stroke analysis.” The pool has both an above-water and underwater camera. Videos and underwater viewing portals help with personalized coaching recommendations. Using the 99 adjustable water current speeds helps evaluate performance. “It’s great that swimmers can see the results right away,” Scott said. “We can send the videos directly to their phone.”
In addition to stroke analysis, the smaller pool is a perfect fit for swimming lessons. “We keep the SwimEx at a warm temperature of 84 degrees, so kids love to jump right in the pool,” Scott said. “Being able to use this pool for swimming lessons really changed our business model, it’s helped us grow. For the younger kids, the smaller pool is much less intimidating than our larger pool.”
The SwimEx is used for 3 hours every day for private lessons. “On some days, it’s in use for up to 6 hours for swimming lessons,” Scott said. “We didn’t anticipate that level of demand. It’s great.”
Easy to maintain
Scott appreciates how easy it is to maintain the pool. “It’s an above-ground installation, so everything is easy to access,” Scott said. “The filtration system is easy and the heater is effective. At first, we used propane, but we’ve now switched to natural gas.”
The pool has been a great addition to the facility. “When one of our national swimmers suffered a fractured vertebra, she was able to use the SwimEx pool,” Scott said. “It’s very versatile.”
~ Authored by Kristine Chochrek