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

Stadio Olimpico del Nuoto (rights free)

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, 2008 Olympics

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

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 HQ in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

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

Piscine Georges-Vallerey, (rights free image)

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)

2016 US Olympic Swimming Trials, Omaha Venue

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.

Montreal_Olympic_Pool (courtesy of Wikipedia7. 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.

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7 years ago

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

Kirsten Fullerton
7 years ago

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.

Reply to  Kirsten Fullerton
7 years ago

There are many more much amazing and impressive and bigger suspended swimming pool these days. For example, the Marina Bays Sands Singapore:

7 years ago

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.

7 years ago

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!

7 years ago

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

7 years ago

I’d love to swim in:

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

7 years ago

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

Gina Rhinestone
7 years ago

Southport .

Reply to  Gina Rhinestone
7 years ago

Depending on the weather of course.