The Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) is the world governing body for aquatic sports such as swimming, diving, waterpolo, synchronised and open water swimming.
FINA rules are used to manage state, national and international events such as the World Championships and the Olympics. The FINA Facilities Rules provide the best possible environment for competitive use and training.
Standard pools are either 50m or 25m in length.
For pools with starting blocks, the minimum depth is 1.35m, extending to at least 6.0m. A minimum depth of 1.0 metre is required for pools without starting blocks.
The end walls are at right angles to the swimming course and surface of the water. They are made of a solid material, with a non–slip surface extending 0.8m below the water surface, to allow competitors to touch and push off in turning without hazard.
Rest ledges along the pool walls are permitted. They are located at least 1.2m below the water surface, and are up to 0.15m wide. Both internal and external ledges are acceptable, however internal ledges are preferred.
Gutters are placed on all four walls of the pool. If end wall gutters are installed, they must allow for attachment of touch panels to the required 0.3 metre above the water surface. They are covered with a suitable grill or screen.
The water temperature is between 250 and 28° celsuis. During competition the water is kept at a constant level, with very little movement. Inflow and outflow is allowed as long as no appreciable current or turbulence is created.
According to FINA rules World Championships require 8 lanes and Olympic Games require 10 lanes. The lanes are a minimum of 2.5m wide, with two spaces of at least 2.5m wide outside of the first and last lanes.
In an 8 lane pool, lane ropes extend the full length of the course and are secured at each end wall to anchor brackets recessed into the end walls. The anchors are positioned so that the floats at each end wall of the pool are on the surface of the water. Each lane rope will consists of floats placed end to end. The floats have a minimum diameter of 0.10m‑0.15 metre.
In a swimming pool the colour of the lane ropes is as follows:
- Two green ropes for lanes 1 and 8.
- Four blue ropes for lanes 2, 3, 6 and 7.
- Three yellow ropes for lanes 4 and 5.
The floats that extend for a distance of 5m from each end of the pool are red. At the 15m mark from each end wall of the pool the floats are distinct. In 50 metre pools the floats are distinct at 25m.
There is only one firmly stretched lane rope between each lane.
Starting platforms are from 0.5m‑0.75m high above the water surface. The surface area is at least 1.5m square and covered with a non‑slip material. The maximum slope is 10 degrees. The platforms are firm and are without a springing effect.
The lane markings on the floor of the pool are a dark colour and marked in the centre of each lane.
The width of the marking is 0.2m‑0.3m for all pools. The length for 50m pools is 46m and 21m for 25m pools.
Each lane line ends 2m from the end wall of the pool with a distinctive cross line 1m long and of the same width as the lane line. Target lines are marked on the end walls or on the touch panels in the centre of each lane and are the same width as the lane lines.
A number of pool facilities include leisure water features that are designed for recreational swimmers, lap swimming and specific areas for toddlers and children. These may include:
- Varying water depths, with extensive shallow or beach areas.
- Wave pools and surfing pools.
- Water slides and flumes.
- Fast flowing river rides & rapids.
- Water jets and water cannons.
- Water features eg rain showers.
- Spa facilities, including varying temperatures.
Further information is available in the Health (Aquatic Facilities) Regulations 2007 and the Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Operation, Management and Maintenance of Aquatic Facilities.
The Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Operation, Management & Maintenance of Aquatic Facilities 2013
50 metre swimming pool
FINA Facilities Rules. October 2015.
Sport England Design Guidlance NoteAppendix 1 Pool types and technical design issues swimming-pools-2013-appendix-1.pdf.
The information in this guide is general in nature and cannot be relied upon as professional advice concerning the design of, or marking out for, sporting facilities and playing areas. No assurance is given as to the accuracy of any information contained in this guide and readers should not rely on its accuracy. Readers should obtain their own independent and professional advice in relation to their proposed sporting activity.