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The Michigan Athletic Club doesn’t focus on typical aquatics programs. MAC, a division of Sparrow Health System, is the region’s only hospital-based health club, and along with swim lessons, aquatic exercise and other traditional aquatic programming, it offers medically based aquatic therapy for arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and prenatal care.

To support this programming MAC partners with physical therapy, orthopedic and weight management professionals.

The 276,000-square-foot health and fitness facility itself includes multiple indoor and outdoor aquatic spaces set alongside dry-land fitness amenities. To maintain year-round operation of all pools, the facility features a dome covering for outdoor pools in fall and winter months.

To directly communicate new programs and special activities — such as the Polar Bear Plunge, Dive in Movies, and Friday Night Family Night (all included in club membership) — operators use a variety of media channels.

Recently MAC partnered with a radio broadcast group to promote fitness using three local talk show celebrities. Each went through a transforming 12-week fitness plan with MAC personal trainers and talked about it candidly on the air each day. They encouraged their audiences to learn more by going online, and a virtual community grew out of this, via Facebook.

Best Practices

Club program and facility usage is up, with swim lesson sign-ups increasing 60 percent in 2010.

Though higher participation is a plus, it has caused time conflicts. So Sparrow created feedback teams to work directly with members. Using the teams resulted in new pool schedules and better employee/member communication.

To maintain year-round operation of all pools, the facility features a dome covering for outdoor pools in fall and winter months.


JUDGES’COMMENTS

“Sparrow has total aquatics programming with multiple pools and water temperatures. It’s a good programming model for community health and wellness.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 25-meter, six-lane indoor lap pool
  • 1,200-square-foot, indoor exercise/ recreation pool
  • 25-yard, six-lane outdoor competitive lap pool, with starting block and a 12-foot depth at one end
  • 3,200-square-foot, zero-depth entry, outdoor family leisure pool with a 360-degree waterfall and fountains
  • 200-foot-long water slide that empties into the outdoor leisure pool
  • 4 hot tubs
  • 4 cold plunge tubs