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    Credit: NICK ORABOVIC

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Today the West Morris YMCA in Randolph, N.J., offers more than 30 aquatic fitness classes. Ten years ago there were two, and the increase is all part of a larger move toward an emphasis on aquatic fitness, says Aquatic Director Kathy Fisher.

“We’re really excited about it,” she says. “We’re doing this because we have to stay fresh and look at where the industry is going.”

Along with increasing the number of classes, the facility has built a new warm-water pool for exercise and fitness, and more recently added about a dozen aquatic stationary bikes.

Fisher’s goal is to show members that they can exercise in the water just like on land. The bikes were such a hit that her initial order of eight wasn’t enough, and the bikes are drawing new users to the pool, especially men.

The next addition will be underwater treadmills, and Fisher says the new equipment has required attention to marketing.

“When we first got the bikes, people were asking how they worked once you got into the deep end,” she adds, explaining that those patrons didn’t understand that the bikes are stationary.

Because the concept is so new, West Morris YMCA also has held special events and is considering TV advertising to best show the equipment in action. There are also on-site education pods with video demonstrations.

Fisher says the focus on fitness has increased membership and membership retention, and it’s dependent on changing patrons' mind-set that the pool is just for swimming. “It’s all about education, and almost personal invitations,” she says.