With a population just under 16,000, Clayton may
be a relatively small town, but that hasn’t stopped this St.
Louis suburb from becoming an aquatics powerhouse. With a mission
of improving residents’ quality of life, the city’s two
aquatics facilities offer a full range of instructional and
In 1997 city officials, in conjunction with the school district,
launched the 20,663-square-
foot indoor aquatics center, located at the Center of Clayton
recreation facility. The partnership helped the city raise
extensive funds for the aquatics facility, which is used by schools
during the day and for community programming in the evening, early
mornings and weekends.
Open in summer, the outdoor Shaw Park Aquatic Center features a
50-meter competition pool, dive tower with 5-, 7- and 10-meter
platforms, plus a children’s pool. Besides a wide range of
swim instruction, health and wellness is promoted among all age
groups through various water exercise programs. Aquatic aerobics
classes range from low-intensity Water Works for those with
arthritis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia to
moderate-intensity Senior Water Exercise and high-intensity Current
With more than 100 part-time employees, the city uses extensive
training programs to maintain a safe, pleasant environment for
members. Certified lifeguards are put through a skills test
followed by two hours of training before working at poolside. All
guards and pool managers must complete a minimum of 1.5 hours per
month of ongoing training.
Brochures are among the facility’s most successful tools to
keep patrons coming. Other marketing programs include regular
community events and Chance Cards for water fitness. The
no-expiration date, 10-punch cards allow people who cannot attend
all sessions of their water exercise classes to make up missed
sessions in whatever classes they’d like in the future.
All told, the cooperative efforts boosted Clayton’s aquatics
program from 3,100 participants in 2002 to 5,400 participants in
2007. — I.H.