The History Of Swimming Pools
history of swimming pools

Do you ever just randomly wonder who certain invented things? Did people just consider pools to be a bigger version of a bath or was there a true meaning and purpose for them? The invention of something is always a fun fact to know. Aqua Leisure Pools and Spas wants to inform you about the background and history of swimming pools.

Who Invented Pools?

The first public pool was built in Pakistan around 2500 B.C. It was known as the Great Bath and was man-made with stone and brick coated with bitumen tar. The bath was around 12 by 7 meters and was part of a larger citadel complex. It still exists today, though it is no longer a functional pool.

Pools were first created for bathing purposes. People saw them as an investment when they saw a boost in their economy and overall standard of living. Romans built these pools for athletic training purposes for nautical games and military exercises. Roman emperors had pools where they kept fish, just for aesthetics. The Romans called it piscina, which means a pool or pond for bathing or swimming.

Pool Timeline

As time evolved, the purpose of a pool changed to become what is known today.

700 B.C– In Greece, they loved the idea of a public bath. Some believe one has not truly learned until one knows how to swim, read, and write. They use these pools for daily baths and oil massages.

Rome 100 A.D- In Rome, they agreed with this way of life. However, they wanted to do things more stylishly. Romans built pools in a grand Roman style with a supply of fresh water fed from the hills periodically. What we know as a hot tub today is just what they called their “heated pools.” The heated pools were not used for swimming, but sometimes “state swimmers” would train inside them.

The Dark Ages 400-1800 A.D- During this time, things began to change. Many pool builders were forced out of business because of a lack of usage. Exercise grew out of fashion and bathing became a rare event. 

England 1830- Many pools were shut down due to alarming drowning rates. The sport of swimming grew. 

Olympics 1869- Competitive swimming became an Olympic event. In 1869, 20,000+ spectators viewed the swimming events from oceans because of the lack of funds to build a proper pool. 

California 1920- William Randolph Hearst built the Neptune Pool and filled it with 350,000 gallons of water. This was one of the first pools to use gunite for construction.

Hollywood 1940- Hearst Castle became a hit in many Hollywood movies. The pool was featured as a prop for the rich and famous. The pool was still used heavily for style but because it was also a popular sport, folks began diving and diving for the fun of it. 

Hotels 1960- American hotels and motels began installing pools to lure more guests in. By the ’70s, nearly every hotel and motel had pools. 

Homes today- 8 million people in the US have pools. They use these pools for style, entertainment, and training.

Lasting Effect

Pools today haven’t changed much since creation, aside from the fact that they aren’t often used as baths anymore. However, they are used for training and entertainment purposes. Hot tubs are used for recovery purposes, which is the same reason the Romans used them. You can get your pool in any style you choose, as the most common are circle and rectangle. But just like the Romans, you can get as fancy as you please. 

Aqua Leisure Pools and Spas

Now that you know the history behind swimming pools, check out getting your own! Aqua Leisure has both pools and hot tubs. Whether you choose to use yours for entertainment or training is up to you, we are here to make the decision process easier for you. Contact us for more information!