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Everything You Need to Know About the History of Swimming and Pools

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As long as humans have inhabited this earth, we’ve had an unbreakable connection and reliance on the aquatic. We and the society as we know it, wouldn’t survive without adequate water and water supply. This is one of the many reasons, that prehistoric civilizations were built around bodies of water, making the lives of the first humans a lot easier.

Without access to clean water, the first civilizations would not only have to struggle, walking back and forth to water bodies but would have also ceased to exist. Our entire life depends on water; everything from the animals we eat to the plants we cultivate needs water to survive.

Now, that we’ve entered a more modern era, our dependency on water has not only increased, but we’ve also created bodies of water or swimming pools in our homes. But how did our need for water turn into building luxurious swimming pools?

In this blog, we’ll focus on breaking down the history of swimming and pools, starting from the Great Bath and ending at swimming pools and water sports that we know and love today.

The Great Bath of 5000 B.C

Pools may be used for swimming and water activities today, but they were originally part of religious ceremonies and bathing rituals.

The earliest known public tank known as The Great Bath happens to be in an ancient Pakistani city, Mohenjo-Daro. It was built approximately over 5000 years ago by a civilization that no longer exists.

Don’t worry, the people of Mohenjo-Daro or the Indus Valley Civilization didn’t go extinct due to a lack of water but a catastrophic earthquake and Indus River flooding.

outdoor swimming pool today

Cave Swimmers in Egypt

The next recorded and documented event that depicts humans swimming dates back to 2500 B.C. It is a cave painting found in Egypt in 1993 that shows human figures swimming in a body of water.

This painting happens to be the first piece of art that depicts prior civilizations swimming and enjoying bodies of water in caves.

First recreational pools and ancient Greece

During 800B.C. and 600 B.C., ancient Greeks happened to be one of the most advanced civilizations, with leisure centers, fitness, and a successful economy. They were one of the first communities to build recreational swimming pools and invest in leisure and social activities.

As their economies continued to grow, ancient Greeks were able to free up most of their time and utilize their money for fitness centers and recreational swimming pools.

outdoor swimming pool with a dog

Swimming becomes a competitive sport

As recreational activities and swimming became more and more popular in 1837, a national swimming society was established that hosted swimming competitions.

The 1830s are what made swimming competitions the water sports we know and love today but this was just the beginning.

Swimmingobstacle course and Paris Olympics

In 1900, during the Paris Olympics, a 200m swimming obstacle race was introduced. The swimming obstacle course included participants swimming through the Seine River, climbing poles, rowing boats, and swimming under large vessels.

However, this was the first and last time the 200m swimming obstacle race was hosted, as it was quickly discontinued the very same year.

Olympic swimming pool

Women’s swimming events, long skirt regulations, and the Olympics

Up until 1912, Olympic swimming events and races were only reserved for men, making it impossible for talented female swimmers to participate and show off their skills.

However, in 1912, for the very first time, the Olympic games finally incorporated and hosted swimming events for women. This change allowed women to participate in either a 100m freestyle swimming event or a 400m relay race, winning their respective countries a medal.

Due to the United States rules and regulations regarding women’s clothing at the time, female swimmers from the US were barred from entering any water sports and events in the Olympics.

This regulation was soon revoked and in 1920, even women from the United States were able to enter and participate in swimming events in the Olympics.

Swimming and the Olympics we know and love today

Thanks to previous human civilizations and women fighting for equal rights, swimming, water sports, and activities have quickly become a norm. According to the USA by numbers, there are over 10 million swimming pools across the United States of America, with the largest being 328,739 square feet.

With how common water sports and swimming has become, installing a swimming pool in your backyard and outdoor living space is nothing out of the ordinary. People want to enjoy a private leisure space from the comfort of their home and reap the health and fitness benefits that come with water activities.

Outdoor swimming pool with a view

If you want to join in on all the swimming fun and get a beautiful pool installed in your backyard or outdoor living spaces, our professional and expert pool designers and contractors are here to help.

At Perfect Pools, we offer professional and expert pool and landscape designing services, helping you bring your dream home to life. We’re some of the best outdoor pool designers and contractors, providing nothing but quality services and exceptional results. When it comes to expert pool and landscape designing, Perfect Pools is the perfect pool company for you!

For more information, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll help you out any way we can.

the authorJacobi