About Olympic and 50m Swimming pools in the UK

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This contains details of all Olympic and 50m Swimming pools in the UK and Ireland. There are 22 (England 15, Scotland 4, Ireland 2 and Wales 1) as at May 2003 with Swansea Loughborough and Dublin recently opened. I ran some searches for Olympic pools and came up with the Olympic games and a pool maker. No lists of where they were. I did find a very usefull site The Swimmers Guide Online which lists almost all swimming pools in the whole world. It is chock full of information about each pool but you can't find out which are 50m pools without looking at each entry so I have put my own page together. Choose from the left or look at the map

What is an Olympic Swimming pool?

Isn't any old 50m long pool an Olympic pool?

No.......

A proper Olympic pool has to mesaure up to the rules as defined by La Federatio Internationale de Natation (FINA) the world governing body of swimming and these rules superceed ASA/British Swimming rules when swimmmng events are being held in this country (such as the recent Commonwealth games).

An Olympic Pool must be 25m wide with a depth of 2.0m (min) at all parts of the course and must be 50m in length - between touch panels if they are used. The 25m width is to allow for 8 lanes to be 2.5m wide minimum with 2 spaces of 2.5m wide outside lane 1 and 8.
So this is 2.5 x 8 lanes = 20m + (2.5m x 2) = 25m in total.

What this means is that only few of the pools here can truly be called Olympic pools: - Sheffield, Tolcross, Dublin and a few others. The rest can be called 50m or long course pools but are not strictly Olympic pool.

Is this a problem?

If you are a keen swimmer not really. The odd centimetre here and there or a few metres on the width isn't going to make much of a difference.

What it does means is that the facilities that can be offered for an Olympic bid are quite limited. Its is doubtful that the new Manchester pool (width 20m) would be allowed to hold a World Championship or Olympic Games as they do not meet the required standard.

For Comparison Australia has 47 (or so) Olympic pools - no wonder they do well.

More Information

If you know of any others please let me know. For opening times and when the full 50 metres is open to be swum in please contact the pool directly or check their web site if they have one. I must thank Bill Haverland of the The Swimmers Guide Online who keeps on drawing my attention to olympic pools I had missed including the private Millfield School pool and the elusive Wigan pool and the lovely Norwich Sportspark. There have been a spate of new pools built in the past few years with several more being built now. Good news - but what about Wales? Cardiff has gone but Swansea will have one in 2002.

Please note that not all pools are open to the public, Aldershot and Millfield to name two. I include them here for completness and who knows you may be able to swim there in a gala or some special event if you get lucky.

A note about links to other web sites.

I have tried to include links to webs site that could give more details - such as exact opening times and facilities. This should be very simple now but often it is hard to find. Sometimes I can't even give a direct link as the the brief details are hidden away in a seachable web site. I do wish they could be more easy to find. These pools are the creme of crop in the UK and should be promoted - not hidden away under a bush. The sites should simply say where it is, what it offers, when it is open and what it costs for a swim.

Here is an an example of an informative site - Manchester - and a not very informative one one - coventry.

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Lidos

See my other page for information about Lidos and Outdoor pools in the UK. Generally lidos are only open during the warm(er) summer months. Indoor Olympic and 50m pools are open all year round.


Click to find out more

I have yet to add Aldershot, Glasgow, Norwich, Manchester or the impending Stirling Loughborough Swansea and Dublin to the map. selectable map of the Olympic pools

Why an Olympic or 50m pool?

Why should you wish to look for Olympic or 50m size pool at all? What is wrong with any old pool ?

Olympic and 50m pools are designed for Swimming. I am a keen swimmer and the pool I swim at (Hewell road in Redditch) is 100 feet or approx 30m. It is a really good pool for swimming in as it is generally kept cool. But some times it is VERY warm - when it happens to be mothers/fathers and baby/toddlers in the afternoon. All the pools that I have been to that are 50m in length also have special shallow pools for learners that are really HOT so the proper swimming pool does not have to whiz up and down in temperature.

So a 50m pool is a great place to swim - particularly when the full 50m is available. It is a lot further than a 30 or 25 metre pool - well twice as far and a length takes ages. Not just a strong push off and then 5 or six strokes. The problem with 50mc size pools is that they are too big for a lot of swimming activities so for a some of the time they can be rearranged to make two or three areas that are less than the full 50m length. Check first before a visit when the full 50m will be in use. I would say that ALL 50m and particulaly proper Olympic pools are worth a visit anyway if you happen to be in the area.

Other 50 metre pools

The pools in this list are indoor pools and so swimable all year. I realise that there are quite a few Outdoor pools and lidos that are 50 metres (Stonehaven in Scotland) or even longer - Jesus Green in Cambridge at 100 yards for example. I haven't identified all of them that are 50 metres or over so for the moment you will have to look through them yourself.

Choose from the list to the left or scroll down here for 50mc size pools in the UK


Aldershot

The Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre is an Army pool but is open to the public at certain times so you don't have to sign up to get a swim here. You do have to take out membership but it only costs £2 to join - that seems reasonable - but check the web site for more details. The £10 million pool and Physical and Recreational Centre (Pool and P&RTC) is at the Army’s Aldershot garrison. It is an 8 lane x 50m pool along with other leisure facilities and opened in July 2000.


address : The centre is located in Princes Avenue, off Queens Avenue, in the heart of the garrison at Aldershot .
telephone : 01252 347724

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Bath

The 50m pool is 2m deep all over and is part of the University of Bath Sports Training Village. The pool is set out in 50m lanes for most of the time which is great. Again it is best to check times. The Students get free admission so it should be busy. Check the Web site for more details.

University of Bath Sports Training Village, University Campus, Bath, BA2 7AYT.
telephone 01225 826339

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Coventry

Coventry is a really superb pool that was built in the 1960s. It has a toddler pool and also a play pool thing with slides and stuff so the main "Olympic pool" - that is what it is called -, can be used for swimming. Most week days at about 6 ish the full 50m is open for general public but again check with the pool for exactly when. The pool building, whch won an award when fisrt built, is very high and has loads of glass windows so in the summer the sun shines in which is really dazzling. Whenever I have been there the swimming club has 4 of the 50 metre lanes and the public had the other half of the pool. Dream.... If only I had their swimming prowess and figures to match - of the the men that is:-) ... 10 more lengths..

There are very brief details on the Coventy web pages. You will need to search for leisure centres. It could be a lot more usefull

The Coventry Sports Centre, Fairfax St, Coventry, CV1 5RY
telephone 02476252525

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Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre has amongst other sports facilities four pools - 50m 8 lane pool, a diving pool with spring borads and 5m, 7.5m an 10m platforms, a teaching pool 18.28m long and a training pool 25m in length. Sounds very impresive.

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, Ledrington Road, London SE19 2BB
telephone 0181 778 9876

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Ealing

The Gurnell Leisure Centre has a 50m pool which is split into two 25 m sections with a bulkhead for most of the week. Check with the pool for times when the full 50m is free.

Gurnell Leisure Centre, Ruislip Road East, Ealing, London W13 0AL
telephone : 020 8998 3241

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Leeds

Leeds International Pool is 50m long and there is a diving Pit with 3,5,7 and 10 metre boards. Really it not an olympic pool because when it was built they forgot to allow space for the touch pads at each end. There is talk that it might be closed if the council get their way as it is in need of a lot of repairs and the council say it is not worth repairing. A new pool would be built out of town in a quite unaccessable area but there is much dispute over these plans. If the link above doesn' not work try this and then work through the tiresome menus.

Leeds International Pool, Westgate, Leeds,LS1 4PH
telephone 0113 214 5000

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Loughborough

The English Institute of Sport Loughborough pool is a 50m x 20m swimming pool which can be split into two 25m pools by a moveable boom. One 25m pool has an adjustable depth of 0 - 2m, ideal for all types of swimming activity. Open to the public but check when.

It looks like another excellent new pool.

EIS Loughborough Pool Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU

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Manchester

The Manchester Aquatics Centre is directly opposite the Geoffrey Manton Building on the All Saints Campus, opened in September 2000 at a cost of £30 million for the Commonwealth Games in 2002. It is the only complex in the UK with two 50 metre pools as well as separate diving and leisure pools. It consists of a 50 metre competition pool, a 25 metre diving pool and extensive leisure waters with flumes and bubble pools. An additional 50 metre training pool, which is used by elite swimming squads, is in the basement. It is part of the University but is open to the public as well. Check the excllent web site which was under constuction when I last looked (May 2003) or call for more details.

The main pool can be divided up into three sections, two of which have variable depth floors. The diving pool also has a variable depth floor, down to a maximum of 5 metres and the training pool can be subdivided with a travelling boom to vary the length.


Manchester Aquatics Centre Oxford Road, Manchester
Telephone: 0161 275 9450.

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Millfield School - private pool

Millfield School has its own 50m 8 lane indoor pool. Being part of private school it is not open for public swimming. You will have to ask your parents to send you there as a border or become a teacher at the school to take advantage of this superb pool.. All the facilities seem to be of a similar high quality to their wonderfull pool. Check out the web site for more information about the school and its pool and courses in swimming.

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Norwich

The £17.6 million Sportspark at the University of East Anglia is one of the largest sports developments in Britain and only opened in September 2000. It sounds really good and facilities include the Bernard Matthews 50m swimming pool so there is no excuse for you turkeys not learning to swim now. The Sportspark is open at all times on a Pay as you Play basis to both Community and University users.

The pool measures 50 x 17 metres and is 1.8 metres deep throughout. The pool is deck level, has competition lane markers, and is equipped with electronic timing. A moving boom can divide the pool into two separate 25m pools. A moveable floor can reduce the depth of the pool as required. Wow that sounds good.

SportsPark - just of the Earlham Road B1108, Norwich. check out their web site. or call the main reception number on 01603 592398.

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High Wycombe

Wycombe Sports Centre has a 50m 6 lane pool plus a 25m teaching pool. It is just by the M40 motorway and is part of a very busy sports centre. Most of the time the pool is divided into two 25m pools by a solid wall which can be raised and lowered into the floor. The deep end also has a single diving board but can only be used for diving at very specific times. The full 50m is available for early swims but it is best to call to find exactly when.

Wycombe Sports Centre, Marlow Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks. HP11 1TJ
telephone 01494 688100

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Sheffield

Ponds Forge International Pool is a really lovely modern swimming pool.. It is really a stunning pool. I read an article about it that said the whole sports centre cost 51 million pounds. That is lot of pounds but the pool is superb. Most of the time it is arranged to have two learner pools bits at either end and then the deep bit is used for lane swimming across the width - 25 metres possibly. The full 50 metres is only available for one bit of an evening - even so it is well worth a visit if the full 50m is not open. Call them for full times. The web site is very jazzy.....

This is one of the few proper Olympic pools in British Isles.

Ponds Forge Intenational Sports Centre, Sheaf Street, Sheffield, S1 2BP.
telephone 0114 279 9766

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Stockport

The Pool is 50m by 25m and is split into 2 parts most of the time. The full 50 metres is used before 8.30 am mon-sat (opens 6.30), and from 8.30pm-10pm on sundays but it is best to check with the pool to be sure.
This is the Stockport web site. Pretty dull. Is there a better web site - please?

Grand Central Pools, 12 Grand Central Square, Wellington Road South, Stockport, SK1 3TA
telephone 0161 474 7766

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Wigan

The pool is 50m with a 5m maximum depth. There are also 1m and 3m diving boards and 5m and 10m diving platforms. This sounds like a lovely pool but they don't make the information about it easy to find on the Internet. Try the Wigan web site if you wish to try and find out more....good luck...

Wigan International Swimming Pool, Library Street, Wigan England, WN11
telephone 01942 243345

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York

Should Yearsley Pool be here as it not 50 m but only 45.7m or 50 yards in old money? Well it is not far off 50m - a good try - and we are not exactlyswamped with long course pools in the UK.. They offer a full programme of swimming activities including a learn to swim .

Yearsley Pool , Haley's Terrace, Haxby Road, York, YO3 7SB
Tel: (01904) 622773

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Dublin

The Dublin Aquatic Centre is a 10 Lane 50m by 25m pool complete with two moveable floors, submersible booms and spectator seating for 2500. It also has an International diving pool with boards at 1m, 3m, 5m and 10m heights. There are also e loads of water leisure features such as a Wave pool with with waves up to 1 metre high

Sounds very impressive. Take a look the web site - which is very informative,

Abbotstown in West Dublin

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Limerick

The University of Limerick Campus in Castletroy, Limerick is is home to Ireland's the 50 metre National Swimming Pool The National 50m training pool at the University Arena was the first Olympic size pool in Ireland. It is 50m by 25m with a ten lane capacity and is open to the general public so call for exact times.

By moving the boom that sits at one end the pool can be divided into two seperate 25m by 25m pools, or a 33m by 25m deep pool with a 16m X 25m pool alongside. The depth can be adjusted as well.

Telephone: +353 (0) 61 213519

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East Kilbride

The Dollan Aquacentre has a 50m pool with a gate boom so it can be divided into two smaller pools and a floating floor which can be adjusted. The web site describes the centre as being state of the art and I can believe it. The web used to have full details of the times when the pool is being used for the full 50m but it has changed. This link is the best I could find. If you know a better one please let me know

Dollan AquaCentre, Town Centre park, Browster Hill, east Killbride, G74 1AF
telephone 01355 260606

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh "Royal Commonwealth Pool" was as its name implies built for the Commonwealth games some years ago and has recently had some minor decoration. The view of the pool from the reception is excellent and like Coventy it has a baby pool and flumes so he full 50m can be left for swimming most of the time. It opens really early for "early birds" or somesuch at 6:00 most mornings which is really good as only keen swimmers are going to be there at that time. Well worth a Visit. There is also an enormous diving pool with VERY high boards.

A really superb pool. GO THERE if you are ever in Edinburgh. This is the best web site I could find for it.

Royal Commonwealth Pool, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, Scotland.
telephone 0131 667 7211

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Glasgow

Tollcross Park Leisure Centre contains Glasgow’s first 50m swimming pool and Scotland’s first International and Olympic standard pool.


Try this web site for further details. This is the best I could find. Surely there must be a better one?


Tollcross Park Leisure Centre, Wellshot Road, Glasgow G32 7QR
telephone 0141 763 2345

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Stirling

The £6.4m National Swimming Academy at the University of Stirling, gives Scotland's elite swimmers dedicated access to training and competition facilities.

The state of the art 50 metre, 6 lane pool with moveable floor and bulkhead, converting the facility to 2 x 25 metre pools will is the training home for Scotland's future elite athletes.

The new 50m pool was officially named the Robertson Trust Swimming Pool at a ceremony held on the 19th January 2001 and was opened for use in January 2002. It is open to the public but check exactly when.

The National Swimming Academy, Department of Sports Studies, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA

Telephone: 01786 466500 or 466900

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Cardiff

The only 50m pool in Wales is now closed but a new one is being built at Swansea - see below...

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Swansea

The new national 50m pool for Wales is now open. As well as the 50m 8-lane competition pool, the centre houses a 25 metre warm-up pool and seating for over 1000. A sumbersible boom and moveable floor means that the 50m pool can be divided into two further 25m pools for community use. Sounds good.

The telephone number for all enquries is 01792 543555 which is the Sports Centre Number for the University of Wales Swansea

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