What Are the Dimensions of an Olympic Size Swimming Pool?

Table of Contents

  • Dimensions of an Olympic size swimming pool?
  • What and how is an Olympic pool?
  • How Does an Olympic Pool Differ from Other Sports Pool
  • How does the dimensions of an Olympic size swimming pool influence a competition?
  • Additional factors that contribute to the equation
  • How Deep is Olympic Size Swimming Pool?
  • How Long is Olympic Size Swimming Pool
  • Is Olympic Swimming Cold?
  • Temperature of an Olympic Size Swimming Pool?
  • is Olympic Swimming Pool Open?
  • Are Olympic Swimming Pools Chlorinated?
  • Are Olympic Swimming Pools Salt Water?
  • How Much is Olympic Size Swimming Pool Cost
  • Olympic Size Swimming Pool Drawing?
  • Gallons of Water to Fill an Olympic Size Swimming Pool?

Have you lately been thinking about go swimming in a huge pool to find out what it feels like to participate in the Olympic Games?

If that’s the case, don’t believe too much your friends or club owners when they tell you they own an Olympic pool, no matter how big it may seem. The reality is that Olympic pools are actually REALLY BIG and expensive to maintain, so these claims are unlikely to be true.

If you want to know what the true measurements of an Olympic size swimming pool are – plus some interesting additional facts that you may not know about these sports fields – then this guide is what you are looking for.

Dimensions of an Olympic size swimming pool

The Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) indicates that the official measurements of an Olympic pool are:

  • 50 meters (164 feet) long
  • 25 meters (82 feet) wide
  • 2 to 3 meters (6 to 9 feet) deep minimum

In turn, these measures create:

  • An area of ​​1,249.9 m² (13,454.72 square feet)
  • A volume of 2,500 m³ or 2,500,000 liters (660,430 gallons) of water
  • Which should be at a temperature between 25 ℃ and 28 ℃

Now, the matter doesn’t stop there, since behind these measures there are a series of reasons that you may not know about. So let’s go into more detail by answering the following question:

What and how is an Olympic pool?

It’s a type of pool where swimming is practiced during the Olympic Games or world championships. This pool has eight lanes of 2.5 meters wide. And each is used for swimming, with 2 additional lanes. Both are 2.5 meters wide – which are located outside. Lanes 1 and 8 aim to reduce the swell produced by the shock of the swimmer’s waves against the wall. These pools should also have 1500 lux lighting to ensure good overall visibility.

In the past, the Olympic Swimming Games were held with competitors swimming in rivers, lakes, and seas. But as early as 1908, during the London Olympic Games, they introduced competitions in a swimming pool for the first time.

Formerly, these pools didn’t have the measures that I already mentioned, but these dimensions were modified over the years until they reached what we know today as an Olympic size swimming pool.

In fact, the first Olympic pool that already had the modern dimensions was used during the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in 2008. 25 speed records were broken on that occasion!

The Olympic pools have lanes that are separated by a rope with buoys (lane rope) placed in the upper part of the water and by a painted line at the bottom of the pool.

These lane ropes, in addition to separating the lanes, also serve to absorb the waves produced by the competitors themselves when swimming. The first 5 and last 5 meters are in a different color from the rest of the lane rope, to indicate to the swimmers that they are already close to the finish or turn wall.

Each lane has an exit platform located between 0.5 and 0.75 meters above the surface of the water. The platform has an area of 0.5 by 0.5 mts and is covered with special non-slip material. All these platforms have a maximum inclination of 10.

Olympic pools also have flags for the backstroke events, located 5 meters from the start and 5 meters from the turning wall. These flags are usually located at a minimum height of 1.8 meters and a maximum of 2.5 meters above the water surface and are used as a reference so that swimmers can calculate the distance to the wall; in this way, they avoid hitting it and can turn over in the right way.

In addition to this, these pools also have a false starting line or rope。 that is placed 15 meters from the exit point and 1.2 meters high (at least) above the water surface.

The purpose of this rope is to serve as a signal when one of the swimmers makes a false start. In this case, a signal sounds and the rope falls into the water, indicating to the rest of the swimmers that they must return to their platforms and wait again for the starting signal to start the competition.

How does an Olympic pool differ from other sports pools?

Currently, at least when it comes to sports or competition swimming, there are basically two types of pool: short course and long course. Both types of pools can be used for water sports, be it speed or endurance swimming, diving, and water polo. Let’s see the features of each type of pool.

Short course swimming pool

This is a 25-yard (SCY) or 25-meter (SCM) pool that is widely used for sports competitions, especially in the United States. In fact, most educational centers and recreational clubs in the US have at least one of these pools.

When it comes to non-sporting activities, these pools are usually used with a maximum of six lanes, while eight lanes are usually used for sports competitions.

These pools usually have a depth that can vary depending on the type of competition and a width of eight feet of separation between lanes – although in some cases 6.5 feet lanes are used.

Long course swimming pool

These are the authentic Olympic pools and are called Long Course Meters (LCM), since internationally, measurements are recognized only in meters, not yards. The reality is that there are several types of LCM pools with slight variations in their dimensions, but a true FINA-sanctioned Olympic pool must have the measurements that we already mentioned at the beginning of this guide.

In the case of the US, I already mentioned that they use yards, usually 25 yards wide. The reason for this is that in the US, long course pools are often converted into short course yards pools with a greater number of lanes for other types of sports competitions.

Another aspect to mention is that many long course pools usually include dividing walls called bulkheads. It can be moved to achieve different setups for different sports disciplines. This means that the Olympic pools that include these features must have a length greater than 50 meters to accommodate these bulkheads.

How does the dimensions of an Olympic size swimming pool influence a competition?

As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of reasons for an Olympic pool to be the way it is.

Did you know that 19 records have already been broken in the swimming pool of the Olympic Aquatic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, of which six are world records?

This means that in each competition, the swimmers get faster and faster.

Does this have to do with the preparation of the competitors or does the pool have more than just water inside it?

Well, both. Although the preparation of swimmers is naturally key to breaking records, the truth is that the water in most sports pools in the world and the technology behind them are different from those you have in your recreational pool.

The consistency of the water is a key factor in being able to swim faster in an Olympic pool. In addition, it should minimize turbulence and water resistance.

In Rio de Janeiro, they have a drainage system that prevents the waves from bouncing off the walls, affecting the performance of swimmers.

On top of that, a pool whose water has a lot of ozone and oxygen allows the bodies in it to become “lighter,” which allows people to swim faster.

As you already know, the depth recommended by FINA for Olympic or high competition pools is at least two meters, but preferably three meters.

These three meters of depth allow swimmers to achieve greater flotation and at the same time, it reduces the turbulence generated by their movements. This is because the waves take longer to reach the bottom and bounce back to the surface.

This characteristic, in combination with the rest of the measures established after the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, resulted in 65 new records being set that year!

Additional factors that contribute to the equation

Other important factors that also contribute to increasing swimmers’ speed are parting lines, buffer lanes, and drainage.

The reason for an Olympic pool to have ten lanes is that the two outer lanes are used to dampen the water waves generated by the competitors. This avoids affecting swimmers who are closer to the edge of the pool.

This greater absorption capacity, in combination with the drainage system, further contributes to preventing the waves from returning to the center of the pool.

Another important aspect is the water temperature, which should be between 25ºC and 28ºC to encourage the muscles to have good blood circulation and thus increase their performance.

The starting platforms are also another element that has undergone significant modifications since the most modern ones allow swimmers to gain greater momentum and jump greater distances when starting a competition.

Did you also know that at the Beijing Olympics, one of the main reasons for the competitors to break so many records was the use of polyurethane swimsuits? Well, after that controversy, these suits were banned.

So, as you have already seen, all the elements that make up an Olympic pool, including its measurements – and the swimsuits? – are factors that contribute to swimmers reaching higher speeds and improving their times. As you see, there is nothing random here.


As you can see, although there are many types of pools in the world, even less in the sports world, there is only one official FINA type of Olympic pool for competitions of such high level.

These pools also have a whole series of regulations and characteristics that contribute to increasing the performance of athletes during their training sessions and competitions.

In any case, if you are thinking about using a pool for sporting purposes, you already have a good idea of ​​what to look for; it will all depend on your particular needs and goals.


How many types of Olympic pool are there today?

There is only one type of pool authorized by the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) that can be used for Olympic competitions, and it’s the Long Meter Course (LCM) of 50 length x 25 width x 3 depth (in meters).

Are there Olympic pools in the US?

Yes, of course. Actually, you can consult a list with the location of several Olympic pools on usaswimming.org or fina.org.

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