Swimming Pool Types

What are the different types of swimming pools? How do they differ in size and which events are they best suited for? Get ready to learn about different varieties of swimming pools. You do not need to have any prior knowledge regarding the sport of swimming.

Swimming Pool Types

Types of Swimming Pools

While swimming pools exist in many different shapes and dimensions, most of them fit into one of two categories. The first is long course pools and the second is short course pools. Both types look the same structurally to the naked eye, however they are noticeably different sizes and each has its own unique set of specifications that are tailored for varying usages and events.

Short Course Pools

Short course pools are 25 metres long (approximately 27 yards). Since they are more compact and easier to build into smaller spaces, they are most commonly found at public grounds and middle/high schools. The water depth of each short course pool tends to vary based on location and target user. Pools found at recreational sites often have a shallow end on one side and a deep end on the other.

Long Course Pools

Long course pools are 50 meters long, meaning they are twice the length of short courses. Long course pools are often referred to as Olympic-sized, as they are the set standard for Olympic swimming events. Generally speaking, long course pools are geared towards competitions, making them most common at high-end facilities (i.e. YMCA, athletic arenas) and universities with intercollegiate swimming and diving teams. Most long course pools are uniformly deep from one end to the other, with a recommended water height of just under 10 feet.

What is Each Type of Pool Used For?

Short course pools are widely available to the general public and tend to be used for leisure. They are best suited for casual swimmers that are simply looking to cool off or enjoy the water, as well as athletes looking to train for short-distance events where fast times are essential.

On the other hand, long course pools are geared towards training and competitive events. Serious swimmers often use them to perfect their craft and practice swimming strokes/techniques. Virtually every Olympic swimming event takes place in a long course, including team relays, individual races and diving events.

Deciding Which Pool to Use

The decision to use either a short or long course pool depends entirely on each individual swimmer’s needs and tendencies. While the different swimming pools are not specially reserved for one specific type of swimmer, those looking to swim for fun are likely to benefit from a short course while those that need to train or practice for an event are better off using a long course pool. This is not to say that Olympic athletes and high school/college competitors are unable to derive any benefits from using a short course pool, however, as many opt to train in private short course pools to improve their speed and stamina.