Dimensions of an Olympic Size Swimming Pool – Length, Width, Depth (How Deep) and Lane Size

The dimensions of an Olympic size swimming pool should be consistent whether that pool is at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, or at an Olympic training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the United States of America. While personal home pool sizes fluctuate tremendously with some being very large while others are very small the Olympic size has become the standard in uniform dimensions for competitive swimmers.

In terms of length the distance is a nice even 50 meters from one end to the other. Meters are a metric unit of measurement and in the US customary system of measuring this equates to 164 feet. When an athlete swims a lap he or she swims from one end to the other and then back to the original starting point. Essentially swimming one lap is the equivalent of two trips across the pool which equals 100 meters (50 meters plus 50 meters). Swimming one lap is equal to 10{629041bc9a6ff041fc0b7c543548a1c0f13f59ea1b47b2bc21e5d68d30575962} of a kilometer or 6.2{629041bc9a6ff041fc0b7c543548a1c0f13f59ea1b47b2bc21e5d68d30575962} of a mile in the US customary system.

The width is 25 meters (82 feet). The basic dimensions of these pools are easy to remember because the length is an even 50 meters and the width is simply half of that figure. Normally there are eight lanes. At some swimming pools for training purposes the normal eight lanes will be increased (often doubled to sixteen) by shifting the manner in which swimmers use the pool so that the athletes are swimming across the 25 meter side instead of the 50 meter length. While this method of training is less than ideal for working on timing it does allow more people to swim at the same time when resources and pool space are limited.

In tournaments the width of each lane is 2.5 meters. For readers not very familiar with the metric system 2.5 meters is the equivalent of 8 feet and 2 inches. A swimming lane of over eight feet should be sufficiently large enough for a swimmer of any size regardless of wingspan and stroke (the butterfly stroke for example requires more room than the backstroke).

The depth of an Olympic size swimming pool is 6 meters (6 feet and 7 inches). Many people wrongly assume that these pools are 10 feet deep. Perhaps the shallow depth is an attempt to save water.

Interestingly, there is even a standard temperature that goes along with the other more conventionally thought of dimensions. In an effort to keep the competitive field as level as possible a water temperature range has been implemented to prevent home pool advantages resulting in training in exceptionally cold or warm water. The regulated temperature spectrum is between 25 degrees Celsius and 28 degrees Celsius. Those temps equate to between 77 degrees and 82 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale.