Though swimming pools are increasingly high tech in terms of heating systems, chemical injection systems and water treatment filters, the earliest evidence of swimming dates back to ancient drawings and paintings by cavemen during the Stone Age in Egypt. There are plenty of references to swimming in early civilisations including the Egyptians and Greeks extolled the virtues of cleanliness and bathing notoriously played a part in Roman social life with Roman baths featuring a swimming exercise area and a hygiene bathing area.
The first heated swimming pool was built in Rome in the 1st Century BC and swimmers are depicted on the mosaics still preserved in Pompeii! The words “piscine” and “piscina”, commonly used across Europe to refer to swimming pools, come from the Latin as the Romans allowed fish as well as people to swim in their swimming pools!
The Romans introduced swimming to Britain in 78AD and swimming quickly came to be seen as an essential life skill. Perhaps the most famous and certainly the best preserved Roman bath is in the town of Bath. In view of the natural, mineral rich healing properties of the thermal water, the Romans viewed the hot spring as sacred and so they threw coins and other valuables into the water to please the Gods.
Competitive swimming has military origins and the first ever swimming race took place in Japan in 36BC! A swimming competition held in London in 1844 saw the American’s easily beat the British, because they swam front crawl, whereas the British swam the slower breaststroke. As crawl created considerable splash, the British continued to swim breaststoke until 1873! Swimming became increasingly popular in the mid 19th Century, thanks to the Victorian’s increased leisure time. In 1837, 6 swimming pools complete with diving boards were opened in London and by 1880; there were 300 swimming clubs in England. The National Swimming Society of Great Britain started holding regular swimming competitions in the 1830’s. The popularity of these competitions grew steadily so swimming was one of the sports included in the first modern Olympics held in Greece in 1896. Decency laws and the Victorian belief that women were too fragile to compete in sport meant that women did not compete in swimming at the Olympics until 1912 however. In fact in 1907, synchronized swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested for indecent exposure because her swim suit revealed her arms, legs and neck!
With Products4Pools you can write the next chapter in the story of swimming pools. By installing an above ground swimming pool you can be part of the growing trend to have an exercise pool or a relaxation pool all to yourself! Massaging water jets, jet wave machines and swimming pool lighting will add the finishing touches! For the ultimate in luxury and pampering you could even indulge in a steam room, sauna or spa, complete with an Aquatray to hold the champagne. The Romans would have been impressed!