Pools go back a long way. You’d be surprised how long! Ancient civilizations, like that of Mesopotamia and Mohenjo-daro, established themselves close to water bodies. This offered fertile soil to cultivate food sources like grains. The first Ancient Egyptian civilizations sprang up at the mouth of the Nile. In the Nile Valley, rich soil resulted in the cultivation of a multitude of crops for sustenance. Water, as a source of life, was given the importance of almost divine relevance in ancient cultures. You will discover this fact from the western civilizations like Greece and Rome to the eastern ones of the Indus Valley. Fibreglass pools are the result of the culmination of water tanks, ancient baths, and pools, and in the modern day, most homeowners can’t do without them. These 10 interesting facts about the history of pools will thrill and intrigue you.
Cave drawings, as part of an ancient archaeological find, were located in caves and ravines near Egypt. These apparently depict people swimming in water bodies. Nonetheless, on closer scrutiny and research, it was discovered that these were pictures of dead bodies floating in the River Nile, perhaps. These paintings, dating back to 2500 BCE are some first instances of the connection between humans and water.
For over 5,000 years, people have been using public tubs and baths with the earliest reported tank found in a citadel of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization of Mohenjo-daro. The ruins from this civilization formed along the banks of the River Indus (now in Sindh, Pakistan) were part of India long ago. This ancient civilization had a complete drainage system that apparently served to bring water from the River Indus to the tanks and for watering the fields. The Indus Valley civilization is the first of the kind that had a square tank, with steps for access to it. It looks much like the fibreglass pool of today.
Greeks and Romans
Water has been used for rituals since ancient times. In ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, pools became more developed and were used for public bathing rituals and for social interaction. The quality of life was suited to building better pools of a higher standard, and novel amenities were added, like heat. When the Romans conquered Great Britain, they built baths in Kent, and these were installed with hot springs. Much like the heated fibreglass pools today, these pools had healing properties. Gaius Maecenas built the first Roman heated pool, in honor of Caesar Augustus, the first ruler of the Roman Empire, built at a time somewhere between 38 – 8 BCE. Created on the Esquiline Hill of Rome, the pool sits among abundant gardens.
Competitive swimming began as far back as 36 BCE in Japan. In 1885, Germany held the first diving competition the world had ever witnessed. In 1875, the English Channel was swum by Matthew Webb, a 27-year-old captain from the merchant navy. With this tremendous feat from Dover to Calais, swimming gained popularity all over the world. This stands as a milestone in pool history. In 1896, men’s swimming events have been part of the Olympic Games.
The Maidstone Club
The Maidstone Swimming Club was the first of its kind, established in Kent in the year 1844. It is the oldest surviving club, created as a response to concerns over drowning incidents in the River Medway. At the time, the river was the only place to swim in, and rescuers would drown in the act of rescue. Today, the clubhouse pools nurture and train the best swimming talent in the United Kingdom.
The Titanic Pool
If you have seen James Cameron’s Titanic, you may or may not have noticed a large swimming pool on the deck of the ocean liner. This was the first ocean liner to possess a swimming pool, and it was the main draw for passengers. Located as part of the Turkish Bath complex on F Deck, it was open only to first-class passengers. Women could swim there from 10 AM – 1 PM, and men could use the pool from 2 PM – 6 PM. The pool needed a ticket for entry. Many less fortunate second-class passengers didn’t take too kindly to the exclusion of pool use for first-class ticket holders.
In appearance, it looked like some fibreglass pools we see today. It was filled with salt water and heated. The second similar pool was on Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic. When the Titanic hit an iceberg, which ultimately led to the sinking of the ship on its maiden voyage in 1914, it’s believed the top of the iceberg fell into the pool.
The Largest Pool
The world’s largest pool exists in Algarrobo in Chile. This project was completed in December 2006. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the pool is 1013 meters in length, called the “Alfonso Del Mar” and it is a saltwater swimming pool.
The Deepest Pool
The Nemo 33 is the deepest swimming pool in pool history. It is in Brussels, Belgium, and has a depth of 34 meters. Maintained at a water temperature of a comfortable 30 degrees Celsius, divers do not require wet suits as protective gear from hypothermia.
The First Fibreglass Pools
The world’s first fibreglass pools were released in the market during the 1950s. Advances in technology have boosted their claim to fame, and they have seen popularity since 2000. Between 2000 – 2015, sales of fibreglass pools tripled and most homeowners prefer in-ground pools. These sales have continued to skyrocket in recent years throughout the Australian region. With countless backyards across the nation hosting a fibreglass pool, Melbourne pool builders have become an integral part of the pool building industry.
Australia Loves to Swim
Australia is the leader in the building of swimming pools, manufacturing more pools (per capita), than any other nation or continent globally. Australians have created swimming champions like Olympic medalists, Ian Thorpe (9 medals) and Leisel Jones (9 medals). The first swimming baths in Australia date back to the Dawn Fraser Swimming Pool, in Sydney, New South Wales. Built in 1882, by James Reynolds, it was enlarged with alterations in 1924. After the Olympic Games of 1956, outdoor pools in Australia were very famous with homeowners dying to own concrete backyard pools.