What we now refer to as “swimming pools” had some rather different names in the past – as well as meaning.
Pool history is one of the most fascinating subjects in the world today. History shows us how humans have made great strides in technological advancement. The swimming pool is a great example of this advancement, invented by ancient primitive humans and considered an entertainment tool for the rich during the 18th century.
The history of swimming pools starts long before the 20th century. The swimming pool first appeared in ancient times, as one of the earliest forms of bathing and allowed to swim for pleasure and health reasons, as well as being a recreational water activity. Swimming pools were used during the Roman Empire, as well as during the Greek, Roman and Ottoman Empires.
Swimming Pool History
Pool and Swimming History is a chronological historical summary of the development of the pool and swimming as an indoor and outdoor activity. The history of recreational swimming dates back to prehistoric times With drawings from Egyptian tombs, Greek athletes bathing in front of the Stadion at Olympia, Roman baths, and also to the 15th century when people started to use public baths for hygiene reasons.
5000 B.C.: The Great Bath
- The earliest swimming pool ever discovered is the Great Bath at the site of Mohenjo-Daro in modern-day Pakistan. Built around 5,000 B.C., the pool measures 12 meters (39 feet) long and 7 meters (23 feet) wide, with a 2-meter (7-foot) deep rectangular pool of purified water. Researchers speculate that the pool was used for religious purification rituals or for exercising.
2500 B.C.: Cave Swimmers
- The earliest evidence for swimming dates back to stone age paintings from around 7,000 years ago. The earliest records of swimming dates back to Stone Age paintings from around 7,000 years ago. There is a depiction of people swimming in Egypt in around 2500 BCE.
800 B.C. to 600 B.C.: First recreational pools
- The first community to build recreational swimming pools was the Ancient Greeks. From the year 800 B.C., Ancient Greece’s economy grew from 600 B.C. to 600 B.C., freeing up more time and money to build recreation complexes or “Palaestrae,” open-air gymnasiums. Swimming became popular as a fitness and social activity in Palaestrae.
300 B.C. to 100 B.C.: Ancient Roman pools
- The Ancient Romans advanced on the Greek bathhouses by including a pleasant feature into their pools and baths: heat! Gaius Maecenas, Augustus Caesar’s advisor, constructed the first heated swimming pool. Ancient Romans could bathe and swim in heated waters because to thermal springs and hand furnaces.
- Aqueducts were also created by the Romans, allowing them to continuously circulate fresh water into the baths, making the experience more sanitary and healthier. During this time, the largest pool constructed was almost 900,000 square feet in size.
75 A.D.: Aquae Sulis
- In the year 43 A.D., When the Romans conquered Britain, they carried their tradition of ritual washing and recreational swimming with them. In the year 75 A.D., The Romans constructed Aquae Sulis, a sprawling “religious spa” that became a popular site for worship, bathing, swimming, and healing. Thermal springs heated Aquae Sulis, resulting in a pleasant water temperature for swimming and worship.
1820s: First indoor swimming pool opens to public
- Swimming became more accessible in 1828, when the first public indoor municipal swimming pool opened in England. The club was called St. George’s Baths, and it had a salt water pool.
1906: The White star line installs a swimming pool on The Adriatic
- The Adriatic Ocean liner’s pool was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The ship’s pool was the first to be placed aboard an ocean liner and was also indoors.
1907: The first of above ground swimming pools opens at the Philadelphia Racquet Club
- The Racquet Club of Philadelphia is one of North America’s most prestigious sports clubs. This remarkable club contains America’s first above-ground pool, an astonishing feat for the time period.
1936: Deep Eddy Pool built in Austin, TX
- The Deep Eddy Pool in Austin, TX got its name from how the pool was developed. The Colorado River created a swimming hole in Austin, Texas, where a massive boulder formed an eddy, or a pool of spinning water that was impeded from moving due to a major obstruction. Swimmers can still enjoy the fresh water, swimming lanes, and wading area of this beautiful historic monument today.
Ever since public pools became a trend, companies have been working to make them safer, more accessible and more enjoyable. Read on to discover the ways that technological advancements have shaped pool history.
1. The Swimming Pool Fence
- In the late 1800s and early 1900s, drowning was a major cause of death among children. A group of doctors sought to reduce this number by creating ordinances that required swimming pools be surrounded by fences. This idea soon spread across the nation, becoming law in many cities and states.
2. The Automatic Safety Covers
- For years, people used dirt or plywood to cover their pools during the winter. However, these covers were not only unsafe for children but also ineffective at preventing debris from entering the pool water. In 1957, automatic safety covers were introduced, allowing people to cover and uncover their pools with ease while keeping their children safe from drowning.
3. The Automatic Pool Vacuum
- In 1961, automatic pool cleaners were introduced to the market after decades of manual vacuuming methods. These vacuum systems worked in conjunction with an automatic system to clean the pool throughout the year rather than just periodically when it needed a deep clean. Modern vacuums use suction or low-pressure water flow to pick up dirt and other particles in the water.
As you can see, the development of the swimming pool has taken many forms throughout history, with different types of pools being created for different purposes. In some cases, pools were utilized as a form of exercise and recreation; in others they were a status symbol