Pools: The Shallow-End History of A Summer Staple


As we make our way into the deep-end of summer, we find that cooling off in the pool is borderline necessary. What would summer be like without them? Who do we have to thank for making this possible? Let’s take a look and find out.


Although it’s hard to say for sure, it appears that the birth of the swimming pool goes back to the “Great Bath” in modern-day Pakistan. Dug during the Early to Middle Bronze age (around 5,000 to 6,000 years ago), the Great Bath is referred to as the “earliest public water tank of the ancient world.” There are many different speculations, but the actual use of the bath is unclear.

Pools transitioned from the bathing realm to the territory of activity and exercise thanks to the Ancient Romans.  Elementary aged boys learned how to swim as a part of their school curriculum. Although swimming as an activity can be traced back to ancient Egypt around 2500 BC, the Romans were the first to build swimming pools separate from bathing pools.

Fast forward to the mid 19th century and pools begin to become popular in England-- indoor pools with diving boards to be exact! The Maidstone Swimming Club was established in 1844 and still exists today. One of the oldest surviving swim clubs. It was founded due to worry from drownings in the River Medway.


The modern Olympic Games added to the increasing popularity of swimming pools and swimming training. One of the first American swimming pools, built around 1915,  is Deep Eddy in Austin, Texas-- which you can still take a dip in today!

Home swimming pools became a desired status symbol in American households in the post World War II era during the arrival of Hollywood films. Pools became a large part of the iconic American Dream. While the idea of having a vacation in your backyard remains the same, pools have far surpassed a simple activity to pair with a summer bar-b-que.  

Check out these modern-day marvelous pools. All you need is sunglasses, a raft, and a good book. 




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  • Roxie Mae Lackman