A website and app that started in 2018 with just four swimming pools in New Jersey exploded in popularity during the first summer of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's now getting pushback from a state that wants those who rent out their backyard swimming holes to obtain licenses similar to public pools.

The state of Wisconsin is the first in the nation to challenge Swimply, even though there are currently only about a dozen pools available in that state, according to the Associated Press. A search of Swimply's website finds more than triple that, 38 pools, currently available for rent by the hour in New Jersey.

To illustrate just how much Swimply has grown in the last three years, at least 200 pools can be rented in the Los Angeles metro area, the website's default search option.

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AP likens Swimply to an "Airbnb for swimming pools," and the startup company's operators are challenging Wisconsin regulators' contention that these rentals should be treated the same as large, public pools. Swimply's lawyers say, in short, that while the listings are public, the bookings are not.

In New Jersey, rentals are available now in Brick Township, Eatontown, Fieldsboro, Freehold, Hamilton in Mercer County, Howell, Island Heights, Jackson, Lakewood, Millstone, Neptune City, Robbinsville, Toms River, Wall, and West Windsor. Rates range from $35 to $175 per hour, although some hosts require a four- or five-hour minimum stay.

You can rent these NJ backyard pools by the hour

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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