How are Lap Pools Measured?

How are Lap Pools Measured?

When it comes to backyard swimming pools, you’ll encounter all different sizes and shapes. But when it comes to competitive swimming, the size, and shape of the pool is strictly regulated. Backyard lap pools aren’t regulated like competitive swimming pools, but their size and shape is a little more uniform than the average full-sized backyard swimming pool. To answer the question of “How are lap pools measured?” we’ve created an article to compare the various types of lap pools and their ideal sizes.

The Olympic Sized Lap Pool

When it comes to international competitions, lap pools have very specific dimensions. An Olympic competition pool needs to be 50 metres long, 25 metres wide and at least 2 metres deep. The width of the swimming pool allows enough room for 10 swimming lanes that are each 2.5 metres in width. The two outer lanes are used as buffers and aren’t used for swimming. Because the amount of water turbulence is the lowest in the middle lanes, the top-ranked swimmers are usually assigned these lanes with lower-ranking swimmers relegated to the outer lanes.

The Home Lap Pool

The fact is that most people don’t have 50 metres available in their home or backyard to install a regulation-sized lap pool. And usually, the reasoning for installing a lap pool at home is that you don’t have enough room for a full-sized swimming pool. So, although there are no strict rules when it comes to the size of a home lap pool, there are industry conventions based on their ideal use. 


When deciding on the length of your lap pool, you want it to fit in the space you have available, but you also want to be able to perform enough strokes to get a rhythm going before you have to turn around and go back the other way. The minimum amount of length that you should be looking at is 10 to 12 metres. If you need to go much shorter than that due to space constraints, you might want to look into installing a swim spa instead.


If you take into account the size of competition swimming lanes, which are 2.5 metres, you probably don’t want to go much narrower than that. In fact, many home lap pools are around 3 metres wide. This will give you enough space to swim in without being affected too much by the turbulence caused by the side walls.


The minimum depth of your lap pool should be around 1.5 metres. If you plan on diving into the pool, you’ll want it to be a minimum of 2 metres deep to prevent any accidents. The deeper the water, the less turbulence you’ll experience while swimming.

To learn more about inground pool options, download a backyard escapes guide here.

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