What is an Olympic Sized Pool?


You may think you know the answer to this question (50m) but taking a historical look, Olympic Pools have been much more than just 50m,

Until Paris hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, London is the only city in the world to have hosted three Olympic Games. So, in answering the question of what an Olympic Pool is, we thought we'd look at each of the three London Olympic pools - and you'll be surprised by the answers:

London 1908:

London 1908 was the fourth Olympic Games and the first to incorporate swimming in a pool. The three preceding it had hosted the swimming events in a variety of locations:

Athens 1896 - in the Mediterranean Sea

Paris 1900 - in the Seine

St Louis 1904 - in an artificial lake

London built a pool, but not just any pool. This pool was inside the White City Stadium on the infield. It was also 100m long! The 6 events hosted 112 years ago still remain as events today. The swimming events were for men only. Just 14 nations competed and only two of those from outside of Europe (USA and Australia). GB topped the medal table comfortably with 4 golds and 7 medals in total.

London 1948:

Forty years on swimming for London 1948 was hosted in the Empire Pool, then venue was originally created for the 1934 British Empire Games. The dimensions of the pool were anything but standard - a beached entry and wave machine were part of its features.

The Empire Pool was positioned next to the stadium that hosted the Games, Wembley. Remarkably this venue still stands to this day - but you will not know it as a swimming pool but as a music venue. The swimming events of London 1948 were the last it hosted, and since then the venue has played host to acts such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Abba and Madonna. You will know then venue now as the SSE Arena Wembley, or Wembley Arena.

London 2012:

The London Aquatics Centre is more of what you would expect in moderns times of an Olympic swimming venue. Two 50m pools, diving pool, elite dive training centre, gyms, creche etc. The Zaha Hadid designed masterpiece is one of, if not the most recognisable swimming pools in the world.

Legacy was a major element of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the venue was re-developed to remove the temporary additional seating in 2013. The venue has since played host to many national and international events.

Since 2017, the venue has been host to the 'London Marathon of swimming' Marathon Swims. Participants take on the Marathon 10k, Half Marathon 5k or 1k Challenge.

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