FAQ Listing Content Questions
Why do you show "City X" in "County/Province Y", when it’s really in "County/Province Z"? (And similar geographical errors.)

When we started the database, we didn’t know a lot about the smaller political subdivisions of most of the countries we ended up adding to the database.

We use Atlases and on-line resources to attempt to place the communities in the areas where they belong, but our background is not in political geography, so we’re not terribly surprised to find out when we've erred.

And, even when we get it right initially, geography isn't fixed: smaller communities are reorganized into larger metropolitan governments and the borders of counties are adjusted for administrative convenience, all the time.

In Australia, one small community in a large metropolitan area usually serves as an "alias" for itself and for a large number of communities that surround it (e.g., Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, etc.). Because the other communities may not always indicate on their websites that they’re part of a larger, better known, metropolitan area, we may show the smaller community separate and apart from the larger community where is belongs.

We've tried to do the best we can but, if you don’t tell us when we’ve screwed-up, we may never find out… Please use the "Edit" buttons in the "Street Address" and "County/Region" fields to let us know about and correct our errors.

Why do you place English cities and towns in their "Historical" or "Ceremonial" counties, rather than the borders of the most recent scheme?

From the time the site first went online in 1996 until late 2012, we used a 1985 Hammond World Atlas that lists the counties in England somewhat differently from the current set up. For example, the Atlas shows Avon as a county, but not the Isle of Wight.

When someone got around to telling us that we were seriously out of date with a lot of our listings, we searched high and low for a current map of the counties, sufficiently detailed to use to straighten that part of the site out. Unfortunately, we could not find such a map, either in hard-copy at our local bookstore or in soft-copy on the Internet.

So, in late 2012, we purchased a database that related the various cities and towns in England to their "Historical" or "Ceremonial" Counties, i.e., the ones that everyone knew (and still seems to know), before people started moving boundaries around a couple of hundred years ago. The fun part of that decision is that some communities that are located in one historical county have become suburbs or sub-sections of major cities usually connected with another historical county. In cases where a community is now a part of a larger city, it's being counted on our site as part of the major city and, therefore, in a historical county different from the one it would be included in if it were "stand alone". And we've set up a county called "Greater London" to cover everything within the M25 highway that circles the city. It includes portions of several historical counties, including Middlesex, which we did not use at all!

Readers interested in understanding the problems we face with England's counties and regions can get a better understanding by reading the Counties of England entry in Wikipedia.

To the best of our knowledge, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland's county setups conform to the current, modern arrangements.

Fortunately, with the Google Maps search, all that political geography becomes much less important than it was when the search routine included needing to know which county a town was located in.

Why do you spell out the names of the cities that start with "Saint", "Fort", and "Mount", rather than using "St.", "Ft.", and "Mt." as everyone else does?

Behind the information you see on the website, is a huge database table where we keep track of the names of the more than 13,000 cities and towns that have listings on the site. We decided to go with the full spelling of the full names of those cities and towns, all the time, to avoid having duplicate entries for the same town or city, e.g., Fort Lauderdale and Ft. Lauderdale. Also, when the site operated on a menu-driven model such duplications would make it difficult to see all the facilities in one community in one place.

Why don’t you have my pool (or another pool I know about) listed on your site? It’s a great facility and it meets all of your listing criteria?

We do the best we can to find every qualifying pool and to include it in the database, but if we haven’t found out about it and nobody’s told us about it, there’s not much we can do, is there?

And even if we have found out about it, we won’t list a facility unless we have certain key facts to include in the listing: the pool's name, location, telephone number, and length.

We may make an occasional exception to one of the minimum-data requirements – we have a lot of listings that are just "Piscine", in France, and a few listings with "no street address available" in smaller communities around the world. But we feel that if we can’t provide all of the above, we shouldn’t send you off on a wild goose chase for a pool that can’t be found or that might turn out to be too small to include on the site.

You have my pool listed, but you don’t mention my swimming/diving/water polo/synchro swimming team, U/W hocky team, apnea/fin swimming club or SCUBA club – why not?

We do the best we can to include information about the different types of teams that call the pools we have listed "home", but we won’t include a club or team unless we can include something that someone who’s interested in training with the club or team can use to find out about it. If we don’t have a website link for the team or a contact telephone number we’re comfortable publishing in the listing, we won’t include it. Regarding club contact telephone numbers, we are now phasing out the inclusion of private telephone numbers in the listings. If a club doesn't have its own website or current contact information cannot be obtained from the pool where the club swims, we will no longer include it in our listings. Everyone wants to be included on our site when they find it, but when the contact moves, quits the club, or dies (yes, that has happened - and more than once), it can take years before someone lets us know. That's not a good situation and we can think of no good way to ensure that the contact telephone numbers are still valid, so we're removing them.

We spend a lot of time searching the Internet for club information, and it amazes us how many clubs don’t include enough information about themselves to be able to correspond the club to a particular facility. Some include neither the name of the community where they’re located nor the telephone area/city code - we're pretty good detectives, but without basic location information, there's nothing we can do. Every club website should include an "About Us" page that indicates where the club trains, and a "Contact Us" page with an email address and telephone number (a street address for the pool is helpful, too).

The listings for pools usually include only the adult "drop-in" or casual admission prices; my pool has several different drop-in rates, for infants, school children, and college students, as well as monthly, quarterly, and annual memberships, punch-passes; etc. Why don’t you list them all?

First of all, keep in mind that the site was developed primarily as a resource for traveling adult swimmers. So we initially limited the information presented to adult and senior citizen "drop-in" prices.

Although we've expanded our audience, we haven't expanded the price information we present because it's simply too difficult to maintain.

Swimmers know (or should know) that most facilities have a range of different admission schemes. The fact that we have presented only one of them should not be taken to mean that they don’t offer others. The adult drop-in price is usually a good indication of the relative cost of all the other schemes available and can be helpful in making a "first cut" decision about where to swim – if you’re looking for a different arrangement, use the telephone number provided to find out about it. Or go to the pool's website more than 97% of the listings include links to the pools' own websites, where the information should be available. (We italicize the should because we note an annoying trend toward not including casual admission prices so that people have to make a telephone call and be subjected to a membership sales pitch, even for publicly-owned facilities.

Why don't you include photographs of the pools in their listings?

Photographers are entitled to copyright protection for their work and can sue publishers for damages when their photographs are used without their authorization. We don't have the time or energy to attempt to determine who owns the rights to photographs of the pools we list; and we don't have the resources to collect documentation to prove we have the photographer's permission to publish his or her work on our site. Like the question of which prices to publish in a listing, we had to make a decision about where to spend our time, and keeping track of tens of thousands of photographs strikes us as not a particularly good use of the time we have available to us.

That said, almost 95% of our listings include links to the facilities' own websites, many of which include professional-grade photographs of their pools. The "Targeted Google Map" links within each listing often include photographs of the listed facilities - some provided by management and some provided by users like you and me. And we've been adding links to facilities' "Facebook" pages, as well; Facebook websites also include photographs, though you may have to go through a lot of pages to get to a decent photograph of the pool at many facilities that have other features in addition to the pool.

One word of caution, however, photographs of health club chain-owned facilities on their own websites and in Google Maps are often "generic" photographs of another club location and may bear no resemblance, at all, to the branch in question. Take the photographs of Life Time Fitness locations in the United States with a huge grain of salt - both on the chain's own website and in Google Maps.

Why do you list prices in Canadian, Australian, and other countries’ whose currencies are called dollars with three letter abbreviations, instead of the good old "$" symbol? Why don't you list all prices in U.S. dollars?

Americans tend to think the world revolves around them – we know it doesn’t – but by not using the "$" symbol, we’re alerting our compatriots that they need to change gears in their thinking when viewing a listing on our site. Using the three-letter standard currency abbreviations to indicate that the price is not in U.S. $ (USD) is a precaution that we think makes the most sense in the circumstances.

We don’t put all prices in U.S.$ because: a) currency rates fluctuate, and b) Americans aren’t the only ones who use the site.

There are plenty of websites that can be used to find the conversion of prices from one currency to any other. (The XE website is one good example.) The three-digit codes we use conform to the international standard codes so you can drop them right into any conversion site's currency designator. Alternatively, a Google query like "50 PEN = ? USD" will get you the right answer even faster.

Why do you list so many facilities that aren’t open for drop-in swimming and don’t have a resident competitive aquatic sports team?

The database was initially developed for traveling adult lap swimmers and to be published in hardcopy, book form. That meant that we needed to keep it small and light for packing, and to include only the information that a traveler could use. When we took the database online, we realized that the size constraints were no longer applicable and that we could include information that might be helpful for locals to find pools in their home areas that might not be accessible to travelers, or for people who might be considering taking a job somewhere and want to know whether they’ll be able to continue their swim routines in their new communities.

Don’t misunderstand – our target audience remains the traveling adult lap swimmer, but there are a lot of other people we can help now at no additional cost, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. Providing that information to locals has the added benefit of encouraging them to send us information that we might otherwise never find out if only travelers used our site.

Also, over the years we’ve found that swimmers are a creative and inventive lot – some pride themselves in being able to talk their way into any pool, anywhere. In many situations, pools with "no visitors" policies can be talked into making an exception for someone with a really good story. For those swimmers, our "no public access" listings may present just the challenge they’re looking for. 

My pool also has a steam room, sauna, full gymnasium, weights and cardiovascular equipment area, a snack bar, and lots of other neat features you don’t even mention in its listing – why don’t you say anything about them?

Although we may, occasionally, include other features of a listed facility, we made a conscious decision to focus on swimming facilities. They're what interest us, what we find fun, and the only subject we want to cover. Over the years, we’ve seen thousands of fitness websites come and go, many trying to cover too many subjects and covering none of them very well. Adding other subjects that might distract us from that one subject would result in a loss of focus, making us "just another fitness site".

When we do include other features available at a listed facility, it’s usually as a way to express our gratitude to the individual who sent us the listing information.

Why don’t you include the pools' schedules in the listings?

We don’t list pool schedules in our listings for two principal reasons:

  1. With more than 23,000 listings, we could never keep up with them all.
  2. Pools close for swim meets, maintenance, because they’ve gone out of business, changed owners, or for a thousand other reasons. If we were to include the pools’ schedules, there would be one less reason for you to call ahead. We want you to call the pool before you go so you won't waste your, time only to find it closed.
I'm sensitive to chlorine and would like to be able to locate pools that use bromine/ozone/salt or any other type of reduced or non-chlorine sanitization system. How can I do that?

We know that many people are sensitive to chlorine and would like to be able to find pools that use anything else for sanitization. When we know that a pool is non-chlorine sanitized, we try to remember to include that information somewhere in the listing. We've even added a field to the Add A Pool section capture the sanitization methods of the pools, but that information is hard to come by. Only a very small fraction of the pools on our list have information about how they're sanitized.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Healthier Swimming Directory of Safer, non- or low-chlorine pools website is no longer being maintained, but it may still be helpful to some, so it's worth looking at.

Most recently updated August, 2018.