The Olympic Games are a once-a-year event that bring the best of the world’s sports together. It is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, celebrating the athleticism of the participants. As with any major international sporting event, there is a wide range of swimming pools that the competitors can use. But how many metres should their swimming pools be? Is it possible to swim the Olympic distance in a pool that’s not entirely beyond the pale? Let’s take a look.
The Number Of Metres For An Olympic Swimming Pool
The Olympic Charter sets the standard for the games, as well as the equipment and facilities that the athletes will need to succeed. The standard calls for the pool to be between 100 and 1,000 metres in length, with a depth of 10 to 19.8 metres. It also states that the pool should not have any sharp edges, nor be located on sloped ground. While the main pool might be sufficient for many (including beginners), the freestyle pools at the Olympics are typically longer than the ones used in standard swimming pools. This is because they are used for the longer-distance events: the men’s 1500-metre freestyle, for example, requires a 1,500-metre pool. Similarly, the women’s 800-metre freestyle is contested in a pool that is twice that distance. The extra length provides more room for the athletes to extend their strokes and speed through the water. It also means they can go faster! So while it’s always nice to curl up with a good book by the fire, watching some skilled swimmers put on a show is something that you don’t want to miss. Just remember to keep your eyes open and your arms by your side so you don’t end up in an embarrassing situation such as this guy.
This length also makes it harder for the swimmers to reach the walls to touch them for support, as getting their hand on them would make the stroke they are performing seem all the more realistic. It’s not just about looks: while the ideal length for a swimming pool might be up for debate, the safety of the swimmers is unquestionably sound.
What About Those With Weaker Limbs?
While the standard length for an Olympic swimming pool might be suitable for most, it certainly isn’t for everyone. The Charter also states that “athletes with weaker limbs should be provided with suitable equipment and assistance”, so that they can participate in the games. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) states that the standard rules and requirements for paralympic sport apply to swimming pools as well. This includes ensuring that the water is of a sufficient depth, that there are no sharp edges, and that it is not too hot or cold. The IPC also states that the dimensions of the pool should be such that it is neither too large nor small to be comfortable for the athletes. If you are a swimmer with a disability and know that your arm strength is lower than what would be required to match your normal swimming speed, you might want to consider either finding a shorter pool or getting a swimmer’s brace to increase the resistance when you swim.
Where Do The Numerical Values Come From?
The numerical values for the length, depth, and slope of the pool come from the standard text book on hydrostatics. This is because the aim is to keep water at a constant temperature, regardless of the outside temperature. To put it simply, the longer the pool, the more heat is removed from it. The shallower the pool, the more heat is trapped and the warmer the temperature. Likewise, a steeper slope produces more runoff than a less steep one, keeping water cool and clean. This is not to mention that the topography of the area around the pool should not affect the water level, in order to keep it at its proper depth. Obviously, these values can vary from one pool to another, but the general idea is the same: the longer, the deeper, and the steeper the pool, the more ideal it will be for your needs.
If you are interested in getting a pool of this nature, there are a few things that you should bear in mind. As mentioned by the IPC, the dimensions of the pool might be important, so that you get the right curve when the water level is at its proper position. As well, it is of paramount importance that the pool is suitably equipped with the right set of handrails, a diving board, and other amenities, such as a beach chair and umbrella, a picnic table, and a barbecue. If you are a competitive swimmer, you might also want to consider a pool with a diving board, as this could make a significant difference in your success at the games. All of this might seem a bit much if you are looking for a leisure pool, but it’s all about finding the right balance between having a good time and keeping your safety in mind at the same time.
As with any other part of your body, regular exercise can improve your swimming skills. It might not be the most exciting suggestion in the world, but it could help you hit the water with more conviction. Similarly, maintaining a healthy diet could also help your body produce more ‘Swimmer’s Hair’, the substance that grows on your arm during and after exercise. The point is that just like with any other part of your body, proper care and attention to detail can improve your swimming skills and make you a better – and safer – swimmer.