Who Invented A Swimming Pool? [Fact Checked!]

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It is said that your first swim without a suit on is the most exciting and liberating moment of your life. Having spent most of my life in a country where the beach was a couple of hours drive away, I can confidently say that this may be true. However, there is more than one person who helped make this moment possible. Let’s take a look at who invented the swimming pool, and how Australia’s changing lifestyles helped bring this momentous occasion about.

The Ancient Greece

Although the first recorded swimming pools were built in the 1600s in Europe, it was actually the Ancient Greeks who first came up with the idea of a pool. In AD 862, the architect Pythagoras is said to have built a swimming pool at the temple of Apollo. This was probably just a small pool, built into the side of a hill, but it was a start. Even more incredible is the fact that a couple of thousand years later these ideas lived on and a couple of other significant pools were built, which would shape the course of human history.

In medieval times, the swimming pool was a place where the upper classes would go for a swim every afternoon before the sun got too hot. However, it was the Protestant work ethic of the 1700s that truly brought the idea of the swimsuit into being. Richard B. Morris, the founder of the Morris Museum of Art, has pointed out that the swimsuit was originally designed for men who were working very hard, and had no time to waste in the water. He also notes that early swimsuits were very uncomfortable, and that this might have been the reason why they were only worn in the water. The swimsuit was designed to be more comfortable in the water, with lighter materials and a slimmer fit. This was also the period when the average life expectancy was very low, and the idea of a cool dip was very appealing.

The Inventors Of Modern Times

Although the invention of the swimming pool is sometimes credited to the Ancient Greeks, the truth is that it was the inventors of modern times who perfected the design and made it suitable for mass production. The great Italian swimmer Amedeo Avogadro devised the first practical method for producing a controlled mixture of water and air. Using this technique, which is known as ‘aeration’, he was able to create life-saving oxygen for those with lung problems. The 19th century saw the first manufactured pools, but it was the middle of the 20th century that saw the emergence of the modern day inflatable swimming pool.

Changing Lifestyles

It was around this time that the idea of a relaxing afternoon by the pool took off, with people no longer seeing it as a place of work, but rather as a welcoming environment where they could let their hair down and unwind. This changing mindset resulted in a boom in the popularity of the swimming pool, leading to its status as an essential part of the ‘retirement package’.

One of the main reasons why the swimming pool has been so popular recently is due to changing demographics. The number of elderly people who can still remember life without computers or smartphones is on the decline, leading to a rise in the number of digital natives who never knew a world without the internet. For these individuals, the pool represents a chance to socialise and meet new people. The opportunity to swim with fish in their tanks or frogs and spiders in their terrariums has never been more accessible.

Even more incredible is the fact that many pools can be found in the most unexpected places. In 2019, a record-breaking 7.69 million people visited the Australian Open, with the majority of them making the trip to the city of Melbourne specifically to attend the event. The influx of tourists has undoubtedly helped boost the local economy, with an estimated $5.9 billion worth of tourism-related activity taking place in the city in 2019.

Tourism is one of the main industries in Melbourne, with the city being the 4th most visited in the country, after Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The boom in popularity also helps to explain the growing number of people seeking to retire in Australian cities. In the 2019 Budget, the Federal Government announced the roll out of a new program which will give Kiwis migrating to Australia the opportunity to apply for residency, entitling them to apply for Australian citizenship, as well as giving them the right to access public services.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of swimming are many and varied. Not only does it provide an opportunity for people to socialise and meet new people, but it also offers them the chance to stay fit and active throughout retirement. A study published in the Australian Journal of Healthy Aging in 2018 looked at the health and social benefits of swimming for older Australians. The team of researchers, led by Angela Bateson from Deakin University, investigated the level of participation in swimming pools among older Australians and found that those who participated regularly experienced improvements in their mental health and wellbeing, reduction in social isolation, and increased feelings of empowerment. They also noted that the health benefits of swimming were particularly appealing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who participated in the study. This echoes the findings of a 2015 study which found that swimming can reduce stress and improve both mood and quality of life for older Australians.

Swimming is also an effective way to maintain a healthy weight, as it burns more calories than just sitting by the pool. In fact, it takes about 10 minutes of moderate exercise to burn the same amount of calories as one hour of swimming. This is why it is such a popular leisure activity among people who are looking to lose weight, and it is also one of the main reasons why so many non-swimmers are discovering the joys of swimming. Thanks to the increasing popularity of the inflatable swimming pool, it has never been easier for anyone to get started in the sport. Even more impressive is the fact that the 2018 Australian Open was the most attended in history, with 7.69 million people flocking to the Melbourne Tennis Stadium to watch the event live.

It seems that the quest for a healthier lifestyle has led to a newfound excitement for the simple joys in life. With all the benefits that come with being by the pool, from weight loss and increased energy to enhanced mental health and wellbeing, it is not hard to understand why so many people around the world are discovering the joys of swimming.

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