swimming pool

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Indoor swimming pool in a hotel

Swimming pools are used for recreation and sporting activities in, on and under water. The main components of a swimming pool are pools for bathing and swimming . Changing and shower rooms as well as seating and lounging options are grouped around it. Other wellness facilities can complement the offer. Most public swimming pools have entrance fees. Bathing lakes are used as a partially free alternative, especially in summer . Private swimming pools are usually smaller and often only have one swimming pool. Another type of bathing establishment used to be the public baths as an opportunity for regular body care.


The Stadtbad in Oderberger Strasse in Berlin from 1900 (today an event room, photo 2005)

The ancient Greeks already had swimming pools . The Romans further developed the bathing culture of the Greeks and built thermal baths all over Europe . 305 BC Rome had the first large aqueduct (Aqua Appia), and at that time a public bath was already being set up. In the 4th century Rome alone had around 900 public baths. Members of all classes attended the public Roman baths; there were also free bathing rooms for the poor. In the Middle Ages , tubs filled with water were available in so-called bathhouses . The focus here was on the hygienic aspect in the shadow of the epidemics. With the introduction of spas , the relaxing and healing properties of water experienced a renaissance. Today, a distinction is made primarily between leisure, spa and sports pools, which appeal to a specific target group with the respective additional offer.

Types of baths

A fundamental distinction has to be made between pools that are only used by one family and public pools. Public pools, including small hotel pools or pools in fitness or sauna clubs, are subject to supervision by the health authorities . In Germany, DIN 19643 and the KOK guidelines are usually used as the basis for the establishment.

Furthermore, bathrooms are nowadays classified according to their layout and purpose.

Outdoor pool (wild bath, natural bath)

Outdoor swimming pool in Grins
Pulvermaar natural swimming pool in the Vulkaneifel

The second oldest form of bathing culture is the outdoor pool , also known as the wild bath . It is not covered and can be built on standing water ( bathing lake ) or flowing water ( river swimming pool ) , including at thermal springs . A special form of the outdoor pool is the swimming pond (swimming and bathing pond), not to be confused with a natural pool , which consists of the demarcated area of ​​a bathing water. A lido is differentiated from everything else by the fact that the shore, the beach , consists of sand. Wild bathing has historically been widespread, natural bathing is more common today to name natural bathing places.

Indoor pool, all-weather pool

Agrippabad in Cologne with indoor and outdoor pools

An indoor swimming pool is set up in closed rooms and can therefore be used all year round regardless of the weather. An all-weather pool is particularly suitable in good and bad weather. The simplest possibility is the parallel construction of an outdoor pool next to an indoor pool. The outdoor and indoor areas are often connected by a sluice that can be swimmable through. Movable constructions such as convertible roofs, telescopic halls and domed roofs are technically more demanding. In order to use outdoor pools all year round, an air dome can be built over the swimming pool seasonally, turning it into an indoor pool.

Sports pool

Sports pool

Many swimming pools are not suitable for sporty swimming due to their shape and design for recreation. Pools with swimming pools that are designed for swimming are based on the FINA standards and are then explicitly referred to as sports pools .

See also:

Stadtbad, Volksbad

The now rather antiquated term Stadtbad or Städtische Badeanstalt denotes a swimming pool that is owned by the respective municipality or city and does not belong to a swimming club or is otherwise private. The term dates back to the late 19th century when hygiene became a public concern. In contrast to commercial spas of the higher ranks, it was actually originally designed as a purely body cleansing facility with shower or bath tubs, which was primarily intended to offer people with low incomes the possibility of regular personal hygiene in order to compensate for the lack of bathing facilities in the apartments ( substandard ) : This is also accompanied by the term Volksbad . Today the names are only a question of the operator and tradition.

Thermal bath, mineral bath, brine bath, mud bath, etc.

Thermal bath

A mineral bath uses natural mineral springs (springs with a special content of therapeutically effective substances) or, more rarely, bath water that is artificially produced in this way. Bathrooms with hot water from hot thermal springs like to call themselves based on the Roman bathing culture as a spa or thermal baths . In terms of natural occurrences of volcanic origin, these are the oldest baths. Most thermal baths are also mineral baths. There are also sea ​​water baths on the coast . If salt water ( brine ) is used instead of treated drinking water , one speaks of brine bath : In brine baths, a distinction is made accordingly between baths with natural brine, either from our own springs or brought into the bath by tanker, and artificial brine, which is made from dry salt in the bath. Another form is the sulfur bath . Corresponding to the mineral springs, moor water is called mud bath . Natural peat stands are mostly used here.

In these bathing facilities, the transition to the spa is fluid and depends on whether the focus is on medical or wellness and leisure activities.

Leisure pool, spa

Outdoor pool of Szechenyi thermal bath in Budapest

The terms leisure pool or fun pool designate pools that are mainly designed for relaxation and fun for bathers. The term leisure pool itself refers to indoor, outdoor or combined pools, where the focus is on recreational sports, ie they have at least a 25 m sports pool, often a flow channel and smaller diving towers. They usually contain additional extraordinary pools: whirlpools , water attractions such as a flow channel, bubble loungers, neck showers, massage jets, waterfalls, etc. Furthermore, adventure pools often have extensive relaxation areas, large saunas and basic gastronomy . Here the boundary to the spa of tourism is fluid and relates more to public accessibility.

Adventure pool, water park

The adventure pool differs from the leisure pool in that swimming is rather secondary, often there is not even a sports or diving pool. The fun elements are important here, such as various tube or wide slides or white water channels , wave pools ( wave pools ), adventure pools . The focus of the adventure pool is therefore on the unique bathing experience and takes into account the obvious desire of today's bathers for more action and adventure. This is also accompanied by the modern expression water park or water adventure park in the sense of a leisure park with a focus on swimming. Better gastronomy and other leisure activities in the sense of a comprehensive all-day experience are also widespread.

Infrastructure aspects

Supervisory staff

Swimming pools must always be supervised by appropriately qualified personnel. In the public swimming pool, they take care of the operational supervision and supervision of the bathing operations, but also for the well-being of the guests. The specialists take care of water treatment and hygiene, monitoring of the technical systems, compliance with house and bathing rules and first aid , personnel management, cash register and finances, etc.

The appropriate specialists are called in Germany Master for Bäderbetriebe and Specialists in Bäderbetriebe and lifeguards , Switzerland Badmeister and Austria lifeguard .

Water treatment

Bath water has to be healthy. Sterility, skin tolerance and a clear view should be achieved through the water treatment . Even so, a number of diseases can be triggered by visiting swimming pools. In addition, a small amount of active chlorine must always be present in the pool to kill germs and microorganisms.

Pool inflow, outlet, pool material

The returning water is filtered and, as required , mixed with disinfectants, mostly chlorine, as well as acidic or basic chemicals to neutralize the pH value , so that it flows back into the pool.

The task of the pool inflow is to bring the inlet water quickly and evenly to every point in the pool and to quickly remove contaminants from the pool. According to current standards, the water that has flowed in must completely drain through the overflow channel in order to achieve optimal surface cleaning.

At least when the entire amount of water is swapped around once a week and a basin is emptied, the drains at low points in the ground are used. Today, these processes are often designed as barely perceptible slots. From a perceptual psychological perspective, a "black hole" is avoided, but physically, in fact, the pull on z. B. feet standing on it reduced to barely noticeable.

Overflow channels were originally embedded in the pool boundary walls, which were 20-30 cm above the water surface. From around 1980, gutters established themselves over new buildings, which are embedded in the horizontal area of ​​the pool edge and covered with rollable grates made of non-slip plastic walkways.

The pool material was painted concrete, ceramic tiles (first with cement joints, then epoxy resin), and finally welded NiRo steel sheet. A support structure is always required behind the waterproof skin to absorb the forces of the water pressure.


Hygiene and cleanliness in showers, toilets, changing rooms, kiosks, kitchens and restaurants, on paths and lawns are prerequisites for healthy bathing. This also includes waste management.

Electrical systems

Electrical systems and equipment endanger people in areas of water basins more than in the usual dry environment. Due to the higher risk of damp and wet ambient conditions, special requirements apply. They are the subject of the standard / safety regulation DIN VDE 0100-702.


  • KOK guidelines for pool construction ; Coordination group for swimming pools (German Society for the Bathing Industry, German Swimming Association, German Sports Association)
  • Werner Hörmann, Heinz Nienhaus, Bernd Schröder: Installation of low-voltage systems in damp or wet surroundings as well as outdoors, in areas of swimming pools, fountains or water basins . VDE publication series Volume 67B, VDE-Verlag , Berlin 2003, ISBN 978-3-8007-2772-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: swimming pool  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Bathing establishments  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. In Germany, for example, according to DGfdB guideline 94.05, mandatory traffic safety and supervision in public swimming pools when swimming is open .
  2. ^ J. Prucha: Bäder , citing S. Carlson, in K. Höll: Wasser , Verlag de Gruyter, Berlin, 1979, p. 261 ( link.springer.com ).
  3. Note. In Austria, there have been two accidents in concrete pools from the 1950s with a square gully. The emptying of the basin began towards the end of the bathing time, the drain grate was lifted out for the purpose of faster drainage and a small child in the shallow remaining water was easily overlooked and was pulled into the drain.
  4. Werner Hörmann, Heinz Nienhaus, Bernd Schröder: Setting up low-voltage systems in damp or wet environments as well as outdoors, in areas of swimming pools, fountains or water basins . VDE publication series Volume 67B, VDE-Verlag , Berlin, ISBN 978-3-8007-2772-8