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Old 05-07-2009, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 385
"Olympic Size" swimming pool?

There are a variety of not very useful measurements out there in common, and sometimes duplicitous, use, and "Olympic Size" swimming pool is the least definite among them. Maybe it isn't, anybody got a nomination?

I've watched Olympic swimming since 1960, and the only thing in common with the pools is the length. The width and depth have all changed significantly. And of course, I've seen many pools here in the US called "Olympic Size" even though they were measured in yards, not meters. No Olympic pool has been measured in yards, though early Olympic pools were 25 meters, not 50.

So, can anyone in the ad business or PR business provide a definition of "Olympic Size?"

The others, in my mind, are the "laid end to end circle the earth X times," or "laid end to end are taller than X Empire State buildings." Those are usually used to celebrate popularity, I guess.

Anybody got any other favorite or hated bogus measurements?
Old 05-07-2009, 10:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,211
Not an ad person here, but a former competitive swimmer on the national level and coach of a prominent club team.

Olympic sized refers only to the length - which is always 50 meters. Anything but is bogus. 99% of olympic sized pools I've encountered are 8 lanes wide - but most have different widths (as in, some are "just barely" 8 lanes, and others have plenty of room on the outside lanes).

The reasons the depth and the width vary widely is one simple reason: quickness of the pool. Depth of the pool and the gutter sizes are two very big factors determining the "speed" of the pool. Also the lane ropes.

Here are some links elaborating on what I've just said:

Last edited by lindsaybluth; 05-07-2009 at 10:40 PM.
Old 05-07-2009, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: On the outside looking in
Posts: 9,996
I'm not an athletic anything, but whenever someone has referred to an Olympic size pool, I've only ever taken it to be a description of length.
Old 05-08-2009, 12:16 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,113
I swim laps for exercise, and can't tell you how many times I've seen bogus claims of so-called "Olympic-size" pools when looking for swimming facilities.

The worst example was one that was 4 lanes wide and 20 yards long. (This was actually the final straw for me during that particular gym tour--I walked out upon seeing the pool.)

Anyway, I actually composed a letter of complaint to the gym (for wasting my time), which I never sent, but it did make me feel better. Part of the letter was quoting exactly what "Olympic-size" means: According to FINA (the international governing body for swimming), an Olympic-size swimming pool is 50 meters long and 25 meters wide.

FWIW, I actually don't need an Olympic-size pool for lap swimming, anyway--my minimum is 25 yards long, along with a pool temperature suitable for lap swimming, not hot-tubbing.
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