You’ve probably swam in pools for as long as you can remember. And if your memory is really good, you may even remember swimming (or trying to) with armbands – bless. But how long have swimming pools actually been around for? Here you can learn a brief history of swimming pools.

Pakistan: The First Ever Swimming Pool

Well, if you can call it that. Back then, swimming pools weren’t anything like what they are today. Since at least 5,000 years ago, they have evolved from man-made watering holes to the ingenious swimming pools that we know and love today. The Great Bath (pictured above) is thought by historians to be the first pool built by human hands. Located in the ancient Pakistani settlement of Mohenjo-Daro, the bathing site is made from bricks and covered in gypsum plaster. And let’s not forget the terraced deck area too. However, according to researchers, the Great Bath would not have been used for lap swimming, but instead for religious ceremonies.  

Greece and Rome Followed Suit

paleas Man-made pools then began to make an appearance throughout the ancient world. For boys of elementary school age, swimming was part of the curriculum in Greece and Rome, so it’s no surprise that the Romans built the first heated swimming pools, and the Greeks, the first public bathing facilities. Gaius Maecenas of Rome was a rich Roman lord and it was he who built the first heated swimming pool in the first century BC. And in Greece, the first public bathing facilities, known as Paleastras, were first established somewhere between 800 and 600 B.C. Plato, the great Greek philosopher, encouraged teaching children to swim as he believed it was just as important as mathematics, philosophy and astronomy.

The Romans Went One Step Ahead

That’s right; the Romans went above and beyond with swimming pools. Not only did Gaius Maecenas supervise construction of the first known heated pool in the first century BC, heated pools then became a standard throughout the empire in no time. poolhistory2 Every major city and the majority of settlements had Roman bathhouses. And they weren’t just basic bathhouses; they featured intricate designs with multiple pools maintained at different temperatures. In fact, some even used silver plates believed to be the first attempt at chemical sanitisation. Sadly, Roman pool design was put to an end in 305 AD when a massive 900,000 square bathing pool was built in Rome. However, ruins of Roman baths can still be found throughout Europe today, with many still displaying exquisite tile and stonework. The ground-breaking design and construction are up there in terms of Rome's great innovations. So, as you now know, swimming pools have come a long way over the years. In fact, there is pool tech and accompanying accessories these days. Take a look at our blog here to discover some cool swimming pool gadgets.   Read more: The 5 Most Famous Swimmers of All Time Why You Should Try Synchronised Swimming How Long Should You Really Wait After Eating to Swim? And Other Myths Busted   (images: Ken and Nyetta under CC BY 2.0 and Saqib Qayyum under CC BY-SA 3.0)