The 7 Wonders of the Swimming Pool World

  23 Ryan Turner | August 31st, 2014 | Featured, International, Lifestyle, Masters, News

pinit fg en rect gray 28 The 7 Wonders of the Swimming Pool World

Though all but one of the original Wonders of the World no longer stand, we are still fortunate enough to have all of the Wonders of the Swimming World. While some of these locations may not be the newest, the largest or the prettiest, they all have something in common: culture. Be it surviving a World War, or complementing a beach town, these locations have greatly influenced the shape of swimming as we see it now.

1. Stadio Olimpico del Nuoto

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Stadio Olimpico del Nuoto in Rome, Italy makes the list due to its unique architecture. Built during the rule of Mussolini, the entire complex looks like something out of ancient Rome. The location was host to the 1960 Olympics, and after reconstruction, was also host to the World Championships in both 1994 and 2009. Colorful images line the indoor pool, providing swimmers something pleasant to look at as they warm down.

2. Water Cube

water cube 637x480 The 7 Wonders of the Swimming Pool World

A wonder more recently constructed, the Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Center), is an incredibly unique cuboid covered in bubbles. Home of the 2008 Olympics, the Cube saw over 25 world records, with many iconic swims that won’t soon be forgotten. Remodeled in 2010, the Cube now serves as a water park for the public, and stands as a shrine to one of the most remarkable Summer Olympics of all time.

3. Olympia Schwimmhalle (Munich, Germany)

Olympia Schwimmhalle 640x190 The 7 Wonders of the Swimming Pool World

This pool makes the list for its tremendous history. From Mark Spitz’ seven individual gold medals to every Olympic swimming event record falling at the 1972 Summer Olympics, Olympia Schwimmhalle has seen it all. The pool was part of West Germany’s attempt at showing the world its new, cheerful democracy (the Games’ motto was the “the Happy Games”). Despite the tragedy of the “Munich massacre” that occurred during the games, Olympia Schwimmhalle still stands as an important piece of history for the sport of swimming.


ISHOF 640x418 The 7 Wonders of the Swimming Pool World

ISHOF HQ in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

I’ve never been to the Pyramids, but I think the ISHOF is a suitable replacement. The International Swimming Hall of Fame, located in Fort Lauderdale, is an incredible complex, paramount amongst all other hall of fames. Complete with a museum, a 50-meter pool and a diving well, ISHOF was home to the (then) YMCA Short Course Nationals, beginning in 1971. The meet was the largest swimming championship in the world for a brief time in 1975. The amount of history at this location is incalculable, as thousands of swimmers have come through this venue to view both live competition as well as the trophies, old swimwear and medals that line the inside of the museum. Though the facility has not aged well, and a new pool is in the works, with construction beginning later this fall.

5. Piscine Georges-Vallerey

zoom IMG 200402161646307 The 7 Wonders of the Swimming Pool World

The Piscine Georges-Vallerey sits in Paris, France, near the Porte de Lilas, a historical landmark that once served as a gate in the Thiers Wall. Named after the French swimmer Georges Vallerey, a hero during World War Two, the pool has undergone significant changes since it’s construction, including the installation of a retractable roof. The pool hosted the 1924 Olympics, which also saw the first appearance of lane lines in competitive swimming, a major upgrade from the 1900 Olympics, in which swimmers raced in the Seine River.

6. Omaha (Centurylink Center)

US Olympic Trials Venue IMG 5538  640x426 The 7 Wonders of the Swimming Pool World

2016 US Olympic Swimming Trials, Omaha Venue

This wonder probably needs to have an asterisk next to its name, as it is only a pool every once in a blue moon. Nonetheless, it is an impressive arena capable of seating 17,000 spectators, and will host the Olympic Trials in 2016.

640px Montreal Olympic Pool 394x480 The 7 Wonders of the Swimming Pool World7. Montreal Olympic Pool

Built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, this pool was a place of firsts. It was the first pool to utilize a 10-lane system, in order to decrease the impact of waves during races. Coinciding with that system, the gutters were designed to prevent waves from bouncing back from the wall. Famous for its yellow catwalks that weave across the ceiling, the pool is still the location for Canada’s Olympic Trials.


  1. gator says:

    Surprised that Sydney Olympic Park isn’t on the list – beautiful, world class and open to the community

  2. Kirsten Fullerton says:

    I’m surprised that Yale’s suspended 50 meter pool didn’t make the cut. It’s not the most picturesque, but an engineering feat nevertheless.

  3. CoachGB says:

    The pool in number 1 was used as a warmup pool and was very unique. It was located on a small hill of the end of the outdoor competition pool.

  4. 4

    Good list, though limiting to 7 is very hard. Would be cool to see a running poll on SwimSwam to create a ‘swimmer-polled’ list of the top 10, 25, 50, 100 pools in the world. I’ve swum in 3 of these (Montreal, ISHOF, Omaha), but clearly have some travels to plan!

  5. lovetheburn says:

    nice article, but the picture choice is very poor. The title states 7 “wonders” of the … world. For example The Montreal and Munich pools look much much nicer than the displayed photo

  6. Nance says:

    The Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre is architecturally a beautiful pool, too. Worth mentioning, though it does not have the historical value and seating capacity that qualify the excellent list of pools in this article. Thanks again for another cool article!

  7. BaldingEagle says:

    I’d love to swim in:

    North Sydney Harbour Olympic Pool, in the shadow of the Harbour Bridge.
    London Olympic Pool.

  8. mcgillrocks says:

    I feel like IUIPUI should on on this list.

    4x Olympic trials
    Many x US Nationals
    Many x US Open
    Many x NCAAs
    Tons of NCAA dual and championship meets
    Tons of high school dual/championship meets
    Countless age group invites

    The most important pool for American swimming in the past 50 years

  9. Gina Rhinestone says:

    Southport .

  10. Marco says:

    the most beatifull swimming pool in the word is UNAM_pool

  11. TheBeach says:

    Beverly Hills high school. The preeminent pool in SoCal before Belmont, it was under a gym floor. It wAs also used in many movies.

  12. Sean says:

    In honesty the hamdam sports complex in Dubai is one of the best pools I have ever seen

  13. Ozsu says:

    Royer Pool in Bloomington, Indiana where Doc Counsilman and Mark Spitz changed the sport of swimming

  14. TheBeach says:

    Other nominees: univ of Texas, Mission Viejo, univ of Georgia, Lakeside Quarry (Louisville), Stanford

  15. beachmouse says:

    Even the HOF pool can’t beach the Bondi Beach pool for location:

  16. Gina Rhinestone says:

    To make this list should pools be open to the public – for a fee of course & times within reason if private ..What is the use of a pool that exists just for the privileged or that you cannot get into ( even to see) .

  17. Triguy says:

    The 50m ocean pool in bondi I think it is, is pretty cool
    The ais pool is very cool, heaps of technology

  18. WizardofOz says:

    The North Sydney Olympic pool is both one of the most spectacular and historically significant competition pools in the world and no list is complete without it. It is nestled below the Sydney Harbour Bridge and some 86 world records were set there between the 1950s and 1970s, by the likes of Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose and Shane Gould.

  19. 0

    the Roma aquatic center that hosted 2009 world champs is on the same premise as pool number one? i know the pool was outside, since i mean more world records were set there than any other pool in history. in fact, that pool has the fastest set of pool records by a longshot to any pool in the world even faster that IUPUI or Omaha regarded as the fastest pools for pool records in america

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