The budget often dictates the pool size that home owners consider. We suggest that the purpose should be the main driver that determines size, shape, depth and even the position of a new swimming pool.

The purpose of a swimming pool can be any one or more of the following:

  1. For recreation and family fun
  2. To entertain children and keep them actively healthy
  3. To entertain adults mainly looking to sit and relax in the water
  4. General exercise and health, i.e. water aerobics
  5. For competitive swimming practice
  6. For competitive or recreational diving practice, i.e. scuba diving, springboard diving or even diving from a platform
  7. 7. For practicing a competitive water sport such as water polo; synchronized swimming or rescue swimming
  8. For a person with a physical disability, an injury or surgery for which regular swimming will be a good rehabilitation exercise
  9. A final purpose of many home swimming pools is a beautiful water feature and focal point, indoors as well as outdoors.

As per introduction to the subject of a private swimming pool’s size and depth, I refer to the notes from SANS 10209 : 2003 Edition 1.3 – The design and construction of private swimming pools, which is the SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL STANDARD (SANS) specification for private swimming pools.

The following recommended minimum dimensions of the swimming area are as follows:

  • Circular: 4,0 m diameter x 1,0 m depth of water
  • Rectangular: 5,0 m long x 2,5 m wide x 1,0 m depth of water
  • Free form: 12,5 square meter x 1,0 m depth of water

Here are a few practical tips to consider should the main purpose of your pool be for entertainment:

For children:

  • For small children, 7 years and younger, a large step to play on provides most fun
  • Teenagers like to jump in and play (1.4m minimum)
  • For save diving from the paving side, a minimum depth of 1,7m and minimum pool of 8m x 3,5m is required

For adults:

  • Seating and the so-called “martini: seat or a step to sit and relax is a must-have. Ideally with swimmers sitting facing the patio or braai-area to engage easily in conversation. The depth of such a seat is normally 450mm and the width 400mm
  • The shallow end of the pool should allow adults to stand comfortable in the water and we recommend a depth of between 0,9m to 1,3m maximum.
  • Shape is important and is determined by the architectural style of the home and personal taste. Ultimately, a pool looking like a farm dam will not fit every home but if such a design compliments your property it will be the right look for your new pool.
  • Finally, for comfortable swimming the water temperature should be at least 28 Degrees Celsius, but definitely not lower than 25 Degrees Celsius.

For competitive swimmers:

  • Longer pools with parallel ends are most desirable with a minimum width of 2,5m equal to the standard line width of an Olympic pool. Nowadays you do not need a long lap pool to enjoy endless swimming. Read more about counter-stream pumps here which provides the luxury of continuous swimming in a pool with a minimum length of 7m. For swimmers not to touch the floor – 1m deep water is required.
  • Competitive swimmers need to practice Tumble Turns at the end of a pool against a straight wall and with a depth of 1,4m or deeper for at least 6m from that wall. Therefore a pool length of 25m or 12,5m is suggested.
  • Team sports such as water polo requires a swimming pool of 10m x 20m with a depth of at least 1,8m
  • Each sport has its own requirements and we can assist in designing your new pool or convert an old pool to suite new specifications.

Click here to contact Swemgat for assistance with your pool project.

Swemgat is a specialist pool builder of residential swimming pools in Witbank, Middelburg, Pretoria, Centurion, Midrand and Johannesburg.  Our main focus is the construction and remodeling of upmarket private pools, but we have been contracted on a few commercial projects in the SADC region which we enjoyed.