Swimmers Guide - About Us
WHAT IS Swimmers Guide?
is a website developed to enable swimmers to find information about full-size, year-round swimming pools, anywhere in the world, quickly and easily. The site is built around a database that was begun in 1992 for publication as a guide for traveling swimmers. In the following 22 years, it has grown from 1,100 listings in the United States to nearly 20,000 listings in 170 countries and has become a resource not just for travelers, but for anyone interested in finding a pool anywhere at any time of the year.
Each Swimmers Guide listing includes: the facility's name, street address and telephone number; a description of the full-size, year, round swimming pool(s) and diving equipment there; information about whether the pool is accessible by the general public and, if so the cost; information to help find the facility; information about aquatic sports teams that train at the facility, including how to get in touch with them; comments about the facility that the site editor thinks will be helpful and informative for someone who has not been there before; and reviews of the facility provided by swimmers who have been there and have been kind enough to share their observations with us.
The vast majority of the listings include links to the facilities' own, official websites, exact GPS (latitude and longitude) location data, and links to targeted Google Maps sites that show exactly where the pool is located. Those listings that include information about resident, aquatic sports teams usually also include links to the teams' own websites.
When it went online in 1996, Swimmers Guide was the Internet’s first world-wide swimming pool database - and it's still the best. In the words of one Masters Club website, it is "the gold standard" of pool finding resources. There are other sites that claim to do what we have done, but none of them is as accurate, as carefully curated, or as easily navigated as Swimmers Guide. Bookmark this site for when you're planning a trip, considering a move to a new community (or country), or for when you just want to look at a new ceiling during your next backstroke workout.
WHAT MAKES Swimmers Guide BETTER THAN THE OTHER POOL FINDING SITES?
Since Swimmers Guide first went online in 1996, we’ve added more than 18,000 listings and we’ve deleted nearly 3,000. We don’t just look for new pools to add to the site, we actively work to make sure that we don’t send you off to a pool that’s no longer open.
And we don’t just add and delete pools from our list, either; we work to ensure that the information we present is as current as we can. We show dates [Month, year] when we were last able to check prices for the facilities and, if we don’t know something, we say so. We are continually reviewing and updating the names, addresses, telephone numbers, web links, prices, and other data shown in the listings.
We don’t keep you captive on our site; we include links to other sites that may have information we can’t capture that we think may be helpful or of interest to you. We know that we could never keep up with the ever-changing pool schedules for all the listings, so we throw a link to the pools’ official websites to allow you to find the most current schedule for yourself. We look for other sites to link to in the listing, as well, such as those for the Masters and Youth swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming, triathlon, lifesaving, underwater hockey and rugby, clubs that train at the listed facilities. And we monitor those links, changing them whenever we find one that’s broken. As of August, 2014, we had nearly 25,000 external links - and that doesn't include the 18,500+ Google Maps links embedded in the listings to help you find the pools.
Our Find-A-Pool drill-down search routine is structured never to give you a "No listings have been found to meet your search criteria." response. Some other sites claim to have listings in just about every city and town in the world - and then take you to a page that tells you they don't really have a pool there and give you a list of other "nearby" communities that may or may not have a pool, as well. Swimmers Guide guides you to the locations where we have listings and we don’t make you spin your wheels looking in places where we don’t.
Our new map-based search interface (in Beta) allows you to find all the listed pools in a radius of up to 100 miles from a point you specify, making city, county, state, and national boundaries irrelevant. All of the GPS points in the listings and used in the map-based interface have been located "by hand"; we have not trusted others to locate pools on our maps, we have spent more than three and a half years to find the exact location of every listing with a GPS point in the site, pouring over Google Maps satellite photographs and using Google's Street View feature. Unlike some other sites, our maps won't place the pool you're looking at in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - unless you're looking at a listing in Bermuda!
Swimmers Guide has a point of view. It was created by lap swimmers for lap swimmers. While some of the facilities listed on the site may not be great lap pools, most of them "will do in a pinch". Be sure to read the listing information carefully, though, because we do list some facilities that are so unsuitable for lap swimming that we've included them so lap swimmers will know not to go there.
We actively solicit the help of anyone who can help us keep our data as complete and up to date as possible. In addition to the "Add A Pool" section accessed from the top row toolbar of every page, there's an "Edit" button next to every data point in every listing. Click on that button to let us know when we’ve gotten something wrong or the facts have changed. Or, if you prefer, use the email address for comments and suggestions at the bottom of every page. You don’t have to be the owner of a facility to send us a correction or an update – and we don’t expect you to take ownership of the listing when you do. If you find something in a listing is not correct or if you know the pool has closed, please tell us so we can correct the error or remove the listing. We won’t bug you a year from now for an update – we know you may have been there only once.
When we incorporate information from other websites, we acknowledge the source of that information, most often with a link to the source site.
And we're sufficiently proud of what we have accomplished to take full responsibility for what we've done. We've had our name and email address on every page of the site since it first went online and the "Whois" registry has full contact information. (See "Responsibility", below.) We don't hide behind anonymous website registrations like every one of our competitors.
ADDING POOLS TO THE SITE:
If we've missed a qualifying facility you know about, tell us about it so we can include it.
To make an addition to the site, click on the "Add A Pool" text at the top of any page. In the first page of that section, you’ll see the minimum criteria for a pool to be included on the site. On the following pages you’ll be led through a series of questions to enter the information about the proposed listing. At the beginning, you’ll be asked for your name and email address. We will not use the address to send you spam, nor will we sell, nor rent, nor give it to someone else for free. But most of the time there’s a follow-up question or two and, if we can’t reach you to ask the question and we can’t find an answer ourselves, we may not be able to add the listing. And, when we do add a listing, we always try to contact the individual who told us about it to say "thank you".
Most new listings are added to the site within a day or two from when we receive the information.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTONS ABOUT THE SITE?
If you want to know more about the site, click on the word "FAQ" (Frequently Asked Questions) at the top of every page. The FAQ section includes complete listing criteria, information about what we generally include and exclude from a listing (and why), and other general information.
Nobody hates junk mail (in any form) more than we do, and we doubt that there are many people who object to the techniques of some website promoters to collect information about their site visitors more than we. So here's our commitment to you:
If you write to us, neither your identity nor your e-mail address will ever be revealed to anyone else unless you specifically request it.
While we do everything we can to ensure that your privacy is protected while visiting our site, we include tens of thousands of hypertext links to other sites - those of the facilities we list, various aquatic sports clubs, commercial map sites, and many other Internet resources that we think may be helpful. We have not investigated the privacy policies of those sites, most of which will be far less favorable than our own.
We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our Web site. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click HERE.
The site is registered to, owned, and operated by William J. ("Bill") Haverland, of Raleigh, North Carolina, who is solely responsible for its content. My name and email address appear on every page of the site. Additional contact information is available through the "Whois" domain name registry.
Most recently updated September, 2014.