Different Types of Swimming Pools

A boy in a children's swimming pool.

Image via Wikipedia

Believe it or not there are several types of swimming pools out there. Let’s take a minute (thanks Wikipedia!) and check out the different types of swimming pools.

Private Pools

Private pools are usually smaller than public pools, on average 12 × 24 ft (3.7 × 7.3 m) to 20 × 40 ft (6.1 × 12 m) whereas public pools usually start at 80 ft (24 m). Home pools can be permanently built-in, or be assembled above ground and disassembled after summer. Privately owned outdoor pools in backyards or gardens started to proliferate in the 1950s in regions with warm summer climates, particularly in the United States, Utah being one of those areas.

An Above-Ground Pool

Construction methods for private pools vary greatly. The main types of in-ground pools are concrete, vinyl liner, and one-piecefiberglass. Above-ground pools (also called “on-ground pools”) are cheaper to assemble and also cheaper in quality.

Public Pools

Public pools are often found as part of a larger leisure center or recreational complex. These centers often have more than one pool, such as an indoor heated pool, an outdoor (chlorinated or saltwater) which may be heated or unheated pool, a shallower children’s pool, and a paddling pool for toddlers andinfants. There may also be a sauna and one or more hot tubs or spa pools (“jacuzzis”).

Public pools may occasionally belong to a hotel or holiday resort, as an amenity for the recreation of their guests. If a pool is in a separate building, the building may be called a “natatorium”. The building sometimes also has facilities for related activities, such as a diving tank. Larger pools sometimes have a diving board affixed at one edge above the water.

Many public swimming pools are rectangles 25 m or 50 m long, but may be any size and shape desired. There are also elaborate pools with artificial waterfalls, fountains, splash pads, wave machines, varying depths of water, bridges, and island bars.

Wading or paddling pools are shallow bodies of water intended for use by small children, usually in parks. Concrete wading pools come in many shapes, traditionally rectangle, square or circle. Some are filled and drained daily due to lack of a filter system. Staff chlorinate the water to ensure health and safety standards.

Competition Pools

The Fédération Internationale de la Natation (FINA, International Swimming Federation) sets standards for competition pools: 25 or 50 m (82 or 164 ft) long and at least 1.35 m (4.4 ft) deep. Competition pools are generally indoors and heated to enable their use all year round, and to more easily comply with the regulations regarding temperature, lighting, and automatic officiating equipment.

An Olympic sized swimming pool (first used at the 1924 Olympics) is a pool that meets FINA’s additional standards for the Olympic Games and for world championship events. It must be 50 m (160 ft) in length by 25 m (82 ft) wide, divided into eight lanes of 2.5 m (8.2 ft) each plus two areas of 2.5 m (8.2 ft) at each side of the pool. The water must be kept at 25–28 °C (77–82 °F) and the lighting level at greater than 1500 lux. Depth must be at least 2 m (6.6 ft), and there are also regulations for color of lane rope, positioning ofbackstroke flags (5 meters from each wall), and so on. Pools claimed to be “Olympic pools” do not always meet these regulations, as FINA cannot police use of the term. Touchpads are mounted on both walls for long course meets and each end for short course.

Exercise Pools

In the last two decades, a new style of pool has gained popularity. These consist of a small vessel (usually about 2.5 m x 5 m) in which the swimmer swims in place, either against the push of an artificially generated water current or against the pull of restraining devices. These pools have several names, such as swim spasswimming machines, or swim systems. They are all examples of different modes of resistance swimming.

Hot Tubs and Spa Pools

Hot tubs and spa pools are common heated pools used for relaxation and sometimes for therapy. Commercial spas are common in the swimming pool area or sauna area of a health club or fitness centre, in men’s clubs, women’s clubs, motels and exclusive five star hotel suites. Spa clubs may have very large pools, some segmented into increasing temperatures. In Japan, men’s clubs with many spas of different size and temperature are common. Commercial spas are generally made of concrete, with a mosaic tiledinterior. More recently with the innovation of the Pre-Form Composite method where Mosaic tiles are bonded to the shell this enables Commercial SPA’s to be completely factory manufactured to specification and delivered in one piece. Hot tubs are typically made somewhat like a wine barrel with straight sides, from wood such as Californian redwood held in place by metal hoops. Immersion of the head is not recommended in spas or hot tubs due to a potential risk of underwater entrapment from the pump suction forces. However, commercial installations in many countries must comply with various safety standards which reduce this risk considerably.

Ocean Pools

In the early 20th century, especially in Australia, ocean pools were built, typically on headlands by enclosing part of the rock shelf, with water circulated through the pools by flooding from tidal tanks or by regular flooding over the side of the pools at high tide. This continued a pre-European tradition of bathing in rockpools, or bogey holes with many of the current sites being expanded from sites used by Australian Aborigines. Bathing in these pools provided security against both rough surf and against sharks. There were often separate pools for women and men, or the pool was open to the sexes at different times with a break for bathers to come without fear of observation by the other sex. These were the fore-runners of modern ‘Olympic’ pools. A variation was the later development of sea- or harbour-side pools that circulated sea water using pumps. A pool of this type was the training ground for Australian Olympian Dawn Fraser.

Infinity Pools

An infinity edge pool (also named negative edge or vanishing edge pool) is a swimming pool which produces a visual effect of water extending to the horizon, vanishing, or extending to “infinity”. Often, the water appears to fall into an ocean, lake, bay, or other similar body of water. The illusion is most effective whenever there is a significant change in elevation, though having a natural body of water on the horizon is not a limiting factor.[citation needed]

Natural Pools and Ponds

Natural pools were developed in central and western Europe in the early and mid 1980s by designers and landscape architects with environmental concerns. They have recently been growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional swimming pools.NSPs are constructed bodies of water in which no chemicals or devices that disinfect or sterilize water are used, and all the cleaning of the pool is achieved purely with the motion of the water through biological filters and plants rooted hydroponically in the system. In essence, NSPs seek to recreate swimming holes and swimmable lakes, the environment where people feel safe swimming in a non-polluted, healthy, and ecologically balanced body of water.

Water in NSPs has many desirable characteristics. For example, red eyes, dried-out skin and hair, and bleached bathing suits associated with overly chlorinated water are naturally absent in NSPs. NSPs, by requiring a water garden to be a part of the system, offer different aesthetic options and can support amphibious wild life such as snails, frogs, and salamanders.

There you have it: the different types of swimming pools. Although for your Utah backyard we’re going to have to recommend sticking with the traditional in ground pools, exercise pools, infinity pools and/or hot tubs.

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