For most people, swimming pools are for leisure – sunbathing poolside, splashing around with the kids, and entertaining friends. However, for other people, swimming pools are primarily for, well, swimming. If you’re one of these people, then you might enjoy having your own lap pool that approximates the dimensions of a swimming lane at the Y. But what are the right lap pool dimensions?
Lap Pool Dimensions
Most pools intended for competitive swimming in the United States are 25 yards long. That’s 75 feet, which is longer than most people can accommodate in their backyards. However, most people find that anything that’s at least 45 feet long is good enough to do laps in without feeling like you’re constantly reversing directions. However, if you have the space and budget to build a longer pool, you’ll probably be even happier.Width of a lap pool should be at least 8 feet. However, if you have a swimming partner you would like to do laps with, add an additional 4 feet at least.
Finally, the pool should be deep enough so that you’re in no danger of scraping your fingers on the bottom. Plan on 3 1/2 feet minimum.
So, taken all together, lap pool size should be:
|Width||8 feet minimum|
|Depth||3 1/2 feet minimum|
Again, these figures are only minimums. You may want something significantly larger. Also, consider whether you want to confine yourself to the basic rectangular shape, or an L-shape that offers more space for other pool activities besides laps.
Lap Pool Cost
As with inground pool costs in general, it’s hard to give a meaningful price range for lap pools. The contractor you select, materials you use, and part of the country you live in will all have a major impact on the final cost. There are just as many variables in building a lap pool as any other swimming pool. You can even find fiberglass and above ground lap pools.
The exact lap pool dimensions are also key in determining cost. While it might not seem like much, adding a foot to the width or depth of the pool adds substantially to its total area due to the elongated shape. A larger area means more materials, more labor, and ultimately a higher cost.
As with any other type of pool, it’s a good idea to get estimates from multiple pool builders before signing on the dotted line. You might be surprised at how wide-ranging the quotes are. Look for a contractor who not only offers value, but has experience installing similar pools (ask for and check references).
Alternatives to a Lap Pool
If a lap pool doesn’t fit in your yard or your budget, there are other exercise pool options to consider. The main one that has become popular in recent years is the swim spa. These are essentially large hot tubs (minus the hot part) that have water jets to create a continuous current. This current allows you to swim in place or do other water resistance exercises. Swim spas have the advantage of taking up less space and being cheaper than inground pools (though they’re by no means cheap).
You can also get water jets installed in a normal inground or above ground pool. This allows you to get your swimming workouts, while also enjoying the benefits of a leisure pool for the family.
Whatever type of exercise pool you’re inclined to get, make sure you take a look at all the options. Given the cost involved, it makes sense to keep searching until you find an exercise pool that’s right for you. After all, you want something you’re going to use for years to come.