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Sports Swimming Pool Design Examples

By Mark Heidelberger

Sports-style swimming pools often possess the same attractive elegance as recreational in-ground pools; however, unlike recreational pools, which have one shallow end that gradually becomes deeper as you travel to the other end, sports-style pools are commonly deeper in the middle and shallow at both ends. This type of design has been widely accepted as the standard by most professional swimmers.


When designing a pool dedicated specifically toward sporting activities, create a detailed illustration for the contractor. Working directly with an artist who can capture the proper aesthetic will ensure that your pool design is unique to your tastes and needs. Web sites such as Fetch-a-sketch.com are also available as an efficient resource, allowing one to find pre-drawn pool illustrations that can be used as a reference. These designs are all created by experts in the field.


One must determine the ultimate end use for a sports-style swimming pool in order to accurately decide what design will have the most efficacy. For instance, many swimmers prefer to have two shallow ends and a deeper middle, as the shallow ends allow them to stand in the water when finishing their laps, regardless of which end they finish at, while a deeper middle allows for a more flexible range of depth in below surface swimming.

On the other hand, an alternative pool design style is one that maintains a shallow depth across the entire length of the pool. This is preferable for sports such as water volleyball that may require leveraging the floor of the pool in order to play the sport. This design also works well for surface swimming. Additionally, such a design allows for greater cost savings since it uses less water and energy, and fewer chemicals.

A third choice is a pool designed for diving, which includes a deep end that drops off precipitously beneath the diving board, sometimes to a depth of 16 feet or more, depending on the height of the diving board.


In order to create a pool ideal for swimming events that focus on speed, try installing a gutter system that absorbs waves as opposed to one that reverberates them back into the pool. Such a system will cause less resistance on the swimmer and provide for a more even surface across the pool to ensure greater unbiased results to a race.

According to the official website of the Auburn University Tigers, their gutter system "creates a calmer pool and reduces the amount of turbulence swimmers must face. In addition, the bulkheads feature a flow-through design which minimizes waves rebounding on turns."

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