Bhutan Opens Nation’s First Ever Competition Swimming Pool: World’s Highest

The Kingdom of Bhutan opened its first ever competition swimming pool in Thimpu on Wednesday, thanks to a collaboration between World Aquatics and the Bhutan Aquatics Federation. The pool appears to be 8 lanes wide and 25 meters long.

The construction and opening of the pool was made possible by the Pools for All Programme, a World Aquatics development initiative that aims to ensure all national member federations have access to the best possible aquatics facilities to promote aquatic sports.

In addition to being the first competition pool in Bhutan, the facility is also the highest swimming pool in the world, standing at an altitude of 8200 feet or 2400 meters. This brings opportunities for a possible altitude training industry in the Central Asian nation.

The opening of the pool in Bhutan represents a significant milestone for the participation in aquatic sports across the country.

“The Pools For All facility not only opens doors for competitive swimming but also serves as a fantastic facility for our youth to develop their love for and talent in aquatics sports,” said Sonam Karma Tshering, President of the Bhutan Aquatics Federation, in a press release. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to World Aquatics for their unwavering support and partnership.”

Bhutanese swimmer Kinley Lhendup, who currently trains at the World Aquatics Training Centre in Phuket, Thailand, commented on the significance of having a competition pool in Bhutan.

“Growing up as swimmers dreaming of competing on the world stage without a pool to learn or train in has presented challenges to overcome,” Lhendup said. “Today, Bhutan dives into a new era of aquatics. I couldn’t be more excited about what this facility in Thimphu means not only for [teammate] Sangay [Tenzin] and me personally but especially for the future of aquatic sports in our country.”

Lhendup is a World Aquatics Scholarship Programme athlete and three-time World Aquatics Championships competitor.

The facility’s official opening ceremony was attended by an array of local, regional, and national dignitaries and officials, including President of World Aquatics Husain Al-Musallam and President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck.

Bhutan is a developing country that sits on the eastern edge of the Himalayas, bordering Tibet, with a population of 782,455 people as of 2022. Bhutan made its Olympic debut in 1984 at the Los Angeles Games, with six athletes competing in archery. The only athlete to ever represent Bhutan in Olympic swimming thus far was Tenzin in 2020, where he placed 68th in the 100 free.

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Seth
30 days ago

I would love to visit.
I do know Bhutan is a country that can be tough to get into as an America, but nevertheless on my bucket list if I come across a pile of money!

Konner Scott
1 month ago

Funnily enough, the lowest point in Bhutan is 7500ft and the average elevation is 10,000ft, so this pool is actually LOW elevation by Bhutanese standards.

Torchbearer
1 month ago

Watched an amazing film from Bhutan yesterday, the Oscar-nominated Lunana, A Yak in The Classroom…highly recommended!

Greg P
Reply to  Torchbearer
1 month ago

I’ve always wanted to go to Bhutan.

Real life Shangri-la.

Ketchup Drill
1 month ago

Simon Bolivar pool in Bogota. 2625 m

Alberto Carramiñana
1 month ago

I think there is a good number of pools higher than that, and probably much higher. The highest I’ve swam is the Alberca Olimpica Juan Fernandez Albarran, just above 2700 meters, in Mexico. But there must be some above 3000m in South America.

Boknows34
Reply to  Alberto Carramiñana
1 month ago

I would think La Paz in Bolivia (3,640m and just under 12,000 ft) would have a pool.

Isaac
1 month ago

My pool in Wyoming is at 7500 so I doubt that pool is the highest

Greg P
Reply to  Isaac
1 month ago

I figured Math is not your strength.

Heidi Natkin
1 month ago

Piscina Olímpica de Alto Obrajes in La Paz Bolivia is around 12,000 feet. It was built for the Pan Am games years ago but still open

Austinpoolboy
Reply to  Heidi Natkin
1 month ago

You look like the winner!!

DK99
1 month ago

Dryland training is climbing Everest