The earliest public water tank in the ancient world is the Great Bath. Found in the 1920s, it existed more than 5,000 years ago in Mohenjo-Daro (a core epicenter of the Indus civilization) Pakistan. Measuring almost 40 feet by 23 feet with a depth of nearly eight feet, two sweeping staircases lead down into the pool. Its significance is unknown, but historians generally link it to ritualistic or religious bathing of sorts. The ancient city featured numerous baths (most homes had restrooms) and a complex sewage system, suggesting that cleanliness and bathing was a priority for the indigenous people.
Ancient Greeks and Romans perfected the pool landscape, as individual wealth increased and luxuries were effortlessly implemented. Beyond aesthetic and enhancement of the property, pools were also used for bathing, war training, maintaining health, religious ceremonies, socializing, and much more. “Palaestra” were ancient Greek open-court wrestling or boxing sites that usually included pools for exercising, bathing, or socializing. Plato felt that every Greek child needed to learn how to swim along with a proper education in mathematics, writing, astronomy, etc. Starting in 400 B.C., it was standard to teach children to swim in pools.
In the 1800s, the British National Swimming Society introduced competitive swimming. New swimming strokes and kicking techniques were introduced, which lead to increased speed. In 1896, the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece introduced swimming as its own event.
Texas houses one of the oldest in-ground pools in America. Deep Eddy Pool in Austin has a bathhouse built during the Depression by the Works Progress Administration. Today, it’s still a popular pool maintained by the City of Austin. It is listed as a historic landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1907, the first recorded above-ground swimming pool was constructed by the Philadelphia Racquet Club. It, too, is on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.
The first pool to cross the Atlantic Ocean was installed on the Adriatic cruise ship from White Star Lines in 1907. The sister ship, The Titanic, also boasted a pool.
Following World War II, swimming pools became mainstream in America. They can be found in nearly every country in the world. The National Swimming Pool Foundation estimates more than 10 million swimming pools across America, including more than 360,000 year-round pools.
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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.