How Big is an Olympic-Size Swimming Pool?

The Olympics swimming sport has been in existence since 1986 when swimming competitors participated only in freestyle and the breaststroke competitions. Those competitions were carried out in major rivers and seas such as the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, the first Olympics swimming games to be held in a swimming pool was during the London Olympic Games in 1908.

With the Summer Olympic Games returning into the spotlight, as a swimmer intending to participate in the event, you may be wondering how big an Olympic-size pool is. Many bloggers have tried to answer this question but they have not provided a more meaningful answer.

How big is an olympic size swimming pool? Olympic size swimming pool are approximately 50 m or 164 feet in length, 25 m or 82 feet in width, and 2 m or 6 feet in depth. These measurements create a surface area of 13,454.72 square feet and a volume of 88,263 cubic feet. The pool has 660,430 gallons of water, which equals about 5,511,550 lbs.

Well. In this article, I’ve provided a more detailed and comprehensive answer you can ever get from experts. Read on to learn more.

What is an Olympic-Size Swimming Pool?

Before I tell you how big an Olympic size swimming pool is, let’s first understand what these pools are all about. Basically, an Olympic-size swimming pool, also known as “long course” pools, is a type of pool used in the Olympic Games. They are large enough to fit touch panels used in swimming competition and to hold hundreds of thousands of gallons of water.

The first Olympic-sized swimming pool was used during the 2008 Summer Olympics which were held in Beijing, China. Beforehand, the Olympic Games featured an 8-lane course swimming pool with a depth of around seven feet. FINA, an international body recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for administering international competition in water sports, decided to increase the depth of the pool and the number of lanes to 10. This was informed by the need to reduce the waves created by swimmers and resistance against the swimmers.

Since then, an Olympic-sized pool is used to determine whether a swimmer has broken the swimming record or not.

FINA Swimming Pool Regulations

As stated earlier, the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) is the internationally recognized body that oversees various aquatics sports such as water polo, diving and swimming. The body regulates the design, layout and overall measurements of swimming pools that are used in those sports.

For instance, according to the FINA Facility Rules, all Olympic Games must be held in swimming pools that comply with regulations FR 11, FR8, FR 6, and FR 3. Below are detailed explanations of these rules.

Dimensions

The length of the pool should be 50 meters (164 feet) between the Automatic Officiating Equipment touch panels. In fact, its length is the main reason these pools are referred to as “long course” pools. The width of the pool should be 25 meters, which is around 82 feet. The pool should have a minimum of 2 meters (7 feet) in depth. When using the pool for multi-disciplines, the recommended depth should be 3 meters (9 feet, 10 inches).

Volume

According to the measurement above, an Olympic-size Pool should have a surface area of around 13,454.72 square feet. Assuming the depth is 2 meters, the pool will have around 2,500,000 liters of water which is equivalent to 660,430 gallons of water.

Number of Lanes

As stated easier, the traditional Olympic swimming pools had 8 lanes. In 2009, the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) passed a resolution requiring all future Olympic swimming pools to have 10 lanes of 2.5 meters wide. These lanes are must be marked from 0 to 9.

During the Olympic swimming competition, each swimmer is assigned one of the eight marked lanes. The two outer lanes, which are not used during the completion, are used as a buffer zone to reduce the waves created by swimmers and resistance against the swimmers. The pool must have a lane rope to separate these spaces from lanes one and eight for the Olympic Games.

Water Features

FINA also recommends the amount of light intensity and temperature for an Olympic-Size pool. The pools should have a temperature of between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius. The minimum intensity of light of the whole pool should be 1500 lux. Just like in the World Championships and other FINA events, freshwater should be used in Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Additional Features

An Olympic swimming pool should also have lines, ropes, and indicators. These three features are used to track and guide swimmers. For instance, the false start rope is 5 meters long and used to indicate a false start to the swimmers. The backstroke turn indicator, which indicates the end of the lane, is installed 5 meters from each end of the swimming pool. The backstroke flags, which determine the swimmer’s distance from the lane end wall, should be 1.8 to 2.5 meters above the water. Last but not least, Olympic swimming pools must be equipped with flush walls at both ends.

Locations of Olympic-Size Pools

Whether you are a weekend warrior with a burning desire to swim in an Olympic-size pool or a professional athlete preparing for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics, there are several Olympic-size swimming pools in the United States that you can explore. Below are some of the few recommendations you can consider:

1. Kosciuszko Pool, New York, New York

Kosciuszko Pool is located along 670 Marcy Ave in Brooklyn. This seasonal complex has two pools, one Olympic-size pool and another pool designed for wading, plus lockers.

2. Wilson Aquatic Center, Washington DC

The Wilson Aquatic Center is located in the Tenleytown in Washington, DC. The center offers a 50-meter by 25-meters Olympic-sized swimming pool with diving boards, one whirlpool, one leisure pool, a multi-purpose room, and a viewing gallery.

3. Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center

The Lee and Joe Jamail pool is located along 1900 Red River Street in Austin, Texas. It is owned and operated by the University of Texas. This pool holds the university’s scuba-diving classes and swimming competitions.  

4. Uytengsu Aquatics Center at the University of Southern California (USC)

Located on 1026 W 34th Street in Los Angeles, the Uytengsu Aquatics Center features a diving well with towers and a long course pool. The center, which is owned and operated by the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, is the home for USC Trojan’s diving and swimming teams. 

5. San Ramon Aquatics Center, San Ramon, California

San Ramon Aquatics Center is located on 900 Broadmoor Drive in San Ramon, California. The center offers a 50-meter by 25-meters Olympic-sized swimming pool where swimming enthusiasts flock to learn how to swim, train or participate in various competitions.

6. McAuley Aquatic Center, Georgia Tech

McAuley Aquatic Center is located on 750 Ferst Drive in Atlanta, Georgia. Owned by Georgia Tech campus, this center hosts state, national, and international swimming events throughout the year.

7. Phoenix Swim Club, Paradise Valley, Arizona

Phoenix Swim Club is located on 3901 E Stanford Drive in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The center offer programs for swimmers of all ages and levels. It is open to the public; swimmers, who want to learn how to swim, train or watch various swimk8ing competitions.

8. Ritchie Center, University of Denver, Colorado

Ritchie Center is owned and managed by the University of Denver. Located on 2240 Buchtel Boulevard S in Denver, Ritchie Center is the only Olympic-sized swimming pool in Denver.

9. Colman Pool, Seattle, Washington

Colman Pool is conveniently located on 8603 Fauntleroy Way SW in Seattle. The pool offers a variety of services such as exercise programs, lap swims, swimming lessons, adult swim times, and more.

Other Olympic Swimming Pools Across The Word

1. London 2012, London Aquatics Centre

This is an indoor heated swimming pool built for the London 2012 Olympics. This is where Nathan Adrian broke the record in the men’s 100m freestyle.

2. Sydney 2000, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre

Sydney Olympic pool is located on Olympic Boulevard in Sydney Olympic Park. It is a 10 lane pool ideal for serious swimming, training and family fun.

3. 972 Munich, Olympia-Schwimmhalle

Munich’s Olympic swimming pool is vividly remembered as Olympic swimming’s greatest performances. The complex features an impressive collection of outdoor and indoor diving boards, swimming pools, and saunas.

4. 1976 Montreal, Parc Olympique

Montreal Olympic pool was constructed for the 1976 Olympic Games. This 10 lane pool welcomes swimmers who want to learn how to swim or practice for serious competitions.

Conclusion

As you can see, Olympic-sized swimming pools are long and large enough to hold more water. They have 10 lanes of 2.5 m wide. The eight-lane pools are used in World Championship races. The Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) provides a long list of regulations to be followed when designing and building an Olympic-sized pool. The regulations cover everything from the pool’s dimensions and volume to temperature and lighting intensity.

If you are preparing for the 2020 Summer Olympics or any competition, a 50-meter long pool might be a good training spot for you. A long-sized pool helps build endurance. Other swimmers prefer training in a 25-meter long pool to improve their speed.

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