How Long is an Olympic Swimming Pool?

Swimming has been part of the Olympics since 1896, with the 100-meter and 1,500-meter freestyle contests being conducted in open water. Backstrokes, butterflies, breaststrokes, and relays were then implemented together with the indoor pool.

However, pools must be constructed following very specific measurements and lane features in order to be used by an Olympic swimmer. The design, layout, and overall measurements of Olympic-size swimming pools should always be regulated by the Federation Internationale de Natation or FINA. Recognized by the International Olympic Committee, they function to create consistency among different pools to ensure they meet the necessary measurements. To avoid misunderstanding and questioning, they have a written set of rules that includes all the measurement requirements for the pool.

Now to answer the query, “How long is an Olympic swimming pool?” Here is a picture of one. Can you make a guess?

olympic swimming pool

If you guessed 50 x 25, then you’re correct. Congratulations for having eyes that can compute Mathematics! Olympic-sized swimming pools are 50 meters or 164 feet long, 25 meters or 82 feet wide, and 2 meters or 6 feet deep. These measurements create a surface area of 13,454.72 square meters and a volume of 88,263 cubic feet. And the water it requires? Just 660,430 gallons of water. Plus, this pool can hold up to 2,500,000 liters or 2.5 megaliters of water.

These swimming pools have eight lanes with two outside lanes serving as a buffer zone. Each lane measures 2.5 meters wide and is marked by buoys and a rope on top of the water and a lane line is painted on the bottom. The lane lines end two meters before the end wall of the pool to serve as a mark to the swimmer.

Having a pool that’s 50 meters in length is beneficial for your health, actually. It teaches you endurance. According to Alex Kostich, a champion winner and triathlete, “A 50-meter pool provides you with that extra challenge of not having the wall. You have to rely on twice as much as endurance to get across. It instantly puts you at an advantage compared to people in 25-meter pools.”

In fact, lots of swimmers prefer pools that are 50 meters long. They prefer the longer distance because they tend to go faster once they’ve gotten into the rhythm. Clearly, the long distance helps your body get used to the motion and you eventually swim faster.

Fun fact: they also use automatic pool cleaners for cleaning the pools in the olympics.