Simple.Transparant.Sustainable. 2521 Simply Swimming

In the autumn of 2009, the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB) introduced her Master-plan Accommodations called “Wanted: Water”. Based on thorough investigation, this master-plan emphasizes the structural shortage of pool water for swimming clubs. This shortage blocks the growth and professionalization of swim ming clubs and thus the important role that swimming can potentially play in the health and social participation of the Dutch.

Swimming is a sport that can be practiced by people from all age-groups and that can both be practiced for recreation or physical performance. Group practice by target groups (seniors, parent-child or other cultures) also promotes social cohesion and meeting different people.

The Swimming Federation and swimming clubs want, through active participation, to activate more volun teers to play a relevant role in the development and operation of the future of pool water in the Netherlands. Moreover, this is based upon examples of other sport federations who preceded the Swimming Federation with plans like this.

The KNZB, in this context, took the initiative to develop a high quality, innovative and sustainable pool concept. This concept creates optimal conditions for socially responsible public-private partnerships and pool operations with maximum respon-sibility for clubs supported by professional staff. During the creation of the pool concept, the KNZB has been assisted by professional and experienced partners in the develop ment, operation, equipment and energetics of swimming pools.

The development of a strong basic concept was preceded by a brief but clear analysis from which targets have been identified for development. Thirty years ago, the main uses of municipal pools were for sports and to learn how to swim. Pools were simple, practical and had oversee-able investments. Over the years, a wide variety of recreational additions were done, such as building slides, creating leisure pools, and adding whirlpools. These developments were an absolute hit, but it made pools increasingly expensive and more complicated. The past 10 years, recreational use has lessened because of all the alternative forms of physical exercise which are physically and virtually available.

Partly because the financial environ ment in which the Dutch government is in and the inevitable shift of their focus to their core activities, the time seems more than right to return to the concept of a basic pool in which health, physical activity and learning how to swim are the key points of focus. A pool can turn back into an affordable, sustainable and socially responsible investment which answers to a wide variety of social issues. The objective is a normal pool on a normal location with normal operation.

An innovative concept was developed, after an intensive development process, by partners of the KNZB. The concept is called ‘2521 Simply Swimming’. All instruments were used to create a concept for an extremely affordable and sustainable pool development: an inspiration for all new pools in the future. Subsequently, the main features of the concept are highlighted.

Location 2521
The location to be used for 2521 is a location that is naturally and easily accessibly to those in its area of influence. There is a strong preference for a location where land costs are minimal, because of existing ownership or symbolic leases. An important starting point is the possibility of also using the facilities for other purposes, such as on-site parking. By strategically planning the parking space usage by day, it can be used for other purposes outside pool opening hours. The pool can thus have good contribution to social security in evenings. A strategic location could also facilitate future comprehensive redevelopment.

Operation 2521
The operation will be done by a social non-profit organization (such as a foun-dation). Financing of investments on a per-location basis can be done externally by financiers, like local financiers or banks/financial institutions. Financing will be done in a public-private partnership context, in which the local government purchases swimming capacity from the foundation. The foundation will be managed by an experienced management team, where all 2521-participants will be part of, and in which the KNZB will have a constant responsibility. The basic principles for a healthy operation are:

  • Low financial pressure
  • Low maintenance costs
  • Low energy costs
  • Low personnel costs by using volunteers
  • Fixed income from sport clubs, classes, recreation and usage by specific groups
  • Fixed income from school use
  • Fixed income from local government/institutional usage
  • Fixed income from own catering services
  • Fixed income from MR rental spaces

Most important is a predictable (scheduled) use of the facilities with many regular users for one year ahead. Underlying assumptions and operating budgets have been finalized and are available.

Building 2521

The building forms a solid basis for optimal operation of 2521. Aspects that were realized as part of the concept are:

Smart foundation, reducing con struction time by 1/3 and resulting in cost savings and flexibility for future use 

Smart design focused on prefabrication 

Maximum use of prefabricated materials results in less construction errors, increases construction speed and minimizes environmental impact (Cradle2Cradle) 

High quality pools requiring little maintenance 

Little volume with maximized plot usage, optimized m2 usage, thought-through building structure and low energy consumption 

Scalable to suit future low-cost engineering

Great accessibility, great social security because of the simplified structure and maximum overview/ high transparency which reduces vandalism 

High aesthetic value and great building quality are a big sign of sustainability 

Welcoming atmosphere, comfortable climate and pleasing acoustics 

Consumes 30% less energy than a comparable pool (with similar water surface and function) and therefore has an A++ energy label and 25% less CO2 emission 

Elaborate options to get a CO2-neutral pool with little additional costs

The 2TEMP solution offers the unique possibility to offer swimmers two different water temperatures at the same time. The 8-lane pool can be temporarily separated in two different parts, by a hingeable wall that comes out of the moveable floor. One part, of approximately 200 square meters, can be additionally heated to provide water that is 4 degrees Celsius warmer than the rest of the pool. The warmer part of the pool can be used for special activities like hydrotherapy, swimming for elderly people of babies, for swimming lessons or for recreational use. Next to this warmer side, five lanes remain available at a ‘normal’ temperature for club swimming or lane swimming. When the hingeable wall is folded down, there is an 8 lane pool with one temperature, available for all kinds of swimming activities, including (but not limited to) water polo, swimming, etc.

The Netherlands: Alblasserdam, Culemborg, Almere, Workum
Abroad: Rees (Ger), Wroclaw (Pol), Temse (Bel), Porsgrunn (Nor), Flesberg (Nor)