Types of Pools

Competition & Training Pools – Either a 25m or 50m (and some 20 yard pools in the USA) rectangular pool for competitive swimming, synchronized swimming, diving and water polo. Now each sport played in one of these pools has it’s own field of play dimensions and water depths, we see typically a competition / training pool ranges from 25m long by 10 – 25m wide all the way to a 54m long by 25m wide pool with a water depth of 2m to 6m. There are many specific features and amenities for each sport, ranging from floor markings and deck equipment to million dollar and up dive towers to timing systems, bulkheads, headwalls and starting platforms. Users will enjoy colder water, about 21 degrees, and be into athletics. This is the simplest shape to build but can be the most complex to put together. FINA regulates dimensions here.

Community & Leisure Pools – This is where things go in many directions. But most common mix across the country is the lap pool, leisure pool and hot pool combination. Lap pools are common and they may or may not meet FINA standards. Leisure pools are typically for fun and smaller sized swimmers. They can have beach entries, lazy rivers, spray features, waterslides, floor jets, and so much more. Wave pools, somewhat self explanatory, can host different wave generating equipment. Landing pools, or splash pools, are typically a catch basin for waterslide riders. These are always 3.5’ to 4.5’ deep and at least 6’ wider than the slide. Activity pools are mid range depth pools for fun only. They hold floating features or overhead features. Users will enjoy warmer water, 26 to 28 degrees, and easier entry/exit to a pool that commonly does not go deeper than 1.2m These pools are usually free-form shapes and serve to draw in customers with the promise of entertainment value.

Thermal – When there is a heated hot spring on a site, the option arises to build a thermal pool to temporarily hold this water. The water is already heated, and in many cases it can be too hot, and requires minimal treatment usually. Filtration is an option at many of these pools as the water volume from below ground is sometimes strong enough to have a flow through scenario (water in/water out). Mineral content can be high in spring water and can affect everything it touches. These pools can be any shape, usually free-form, and any depth. Most often we see them used as huge hot pools for relaxing.

Spa Pools – This is a bit of a gray area. Hot pools (hot tubs, jacuzzies, spas are all poor name choices) are intended to be a pool with hot water to relax in. Since the primary goal is to be seated, all amenities are focused on that – from jets to bubbles. These pools are desirable by swimmers, but mostly no desired by maintenance staff. The size and shape of hot pools is centered around the bench seating they provide.

Hotel – Back in the 60’s most hotels had trouble distinguishing themselves from their competition. In fact to this day a lot of hotel are designed similar to each other. So the industry came up with a way to stand out. Adding a pool, it was quickly proven, was a great way to increase ADR and daily occupancy rates. And it worked well during the week, but extremely well on the weekends. Fast forward to the 2000’s and every hotel has a pool it seems. It is almost expected. So waterslides began to be added. ADR and Occ went up for these hotels. Now it is not very common to have a hotel that actually wants to use its pool. They really see the benefit in that potential guests will pick their hotel over others because they have this attraction – even if they don’t use the pool. Hotel pools are small and simple, commonly 20’ by 35’ or so, and with a water depth of about 1.1m.

Resort Pools – A resort pool is part of a destination package. A whole package set to attract guests because of many entertainment options on site. Length of stay is critical at these places, kind of like a casino in Vegas. These pools can be big, free-form and a range of depth for fun and relaxing. These pools typically have other amenities around the pool to create a waterpark feel. Always heated and inviting.

Health & Wellness Pools – This is the evolution, just beginning to take hold in the last 5 years, of the leisure pool. Instead of focusing just on entertainment value, this type of pool will have features focused on healthy activities, lower impact exercise and relaxation. The water may even be set to “enhance” the sensation of feeling good after going in the pool. Not commonly a kids pool, these range in depth a little deeper than a leisure pool. Water temperatures tend to run about the same as a leisure pool. Key note here between us, funding for recreation projects is sometimes not available. But funding for health and wellness is never too far away. This approach is now trending upward (see La Crete and Lewisporte).

Therapy – A true therapy pool is not typically a thing of beauty. It is clinical and highly functional in its design. You can find these pools at hospitals, large clinics and specialized facilities for longer term care. Amenities include bars, grab rails, steps, ramps and more – aimed at doing very specific physio exercise that is carefully monitored and programmed. These pool can be about chest deep for adults and are not usually large. Water temperatures run around the same as body temperature – except for the hot/cold plunge pools.

Rehabilitation Pools – Getting back to normal strength and mobility after illness or injury can take time and a lot of effort. These pools are for this end, have amenities to suit but are not usually in huge demand. So local community pools take this on with minimal effort.

Waterpark Pools – To be considered a waterpark you need three things: a wave pool, waterslides and a kiddie area. Wave pools used to be a very specific fan shape but now come in many shapes, even circular. High capacity pools that have less draw. Kiddies areas can be a shallow pool or a splash pad (spray park) with zero depth. Activity pools, landing pools, social pools and even hot tubs can play a role in a waterpark.

Specialty Pools – polar bear habitat pool, dancing lighted fountains at Canada’s largest amusement park, and luxury residential projects, even pools for curing cement girders. This is where imagination takes over and pols are build to suit very specific needs – often with very specific materials.