A lap pool is a pool that is used primarily for exercise. These pools can be installed on narrow or shallow residential lots where the homeowner wants to swim laps in their backyard. They can also be used as focal points in the yard, especially if they are viewed from the home. Lap pools are becoming more popular as residential lots become smaller.
What is a lap pool?
Lap pools are rectangular, long, and narrow pools. Ideal length is at least 45 feet.
Ancient Greeks and Romans likely built pools in the shape of a rectangle. This was used for training in ancient gymnasiums, for nautical games and for military exercises. Piscinas are the Roman name for private swimming pools that were filled with fish.
Although there were many others, Cleo Baldon, a landscape designer based in Venice, California, Galper/Baldon Associates, is the one who brought the lap pool to California in the 1970s with her designs. Baldon’s innovative design helped fuel the fitness scene. Her work was also featured in Reflections on The Pool: California Designs for Swimming, which she co-authored along with her husband, Ib. Melchior. Her patent also covers the Hydro-Spa, a prefabricated fiberglass spa with contoured seating.
Baldon, who was born in Washington, stated that the long, narrow irrigation ditches that run between the apple orchards inspired the creation of the lap pool.
Baldon’s mother wouldn’t let her daughter swim in the Washington irrigation trenches. However, the designer created some beautiful lap pools for swimmers to enjoy. Baldon believed that a pool of 8 to 9 feet width (and minimum 45 feet long) would be sufficient for a serious swimmer to perform swimming strokes. The optimal lap pool depth is 3 feet at the shallow, 4 feet in middle and 5 feet standing up in deep. The shallow end has a “leg” area that children can use to find access steps and play.
A lap pool can be built, maintained, heated, and heated in the same way as other pools. However, it can also be used as a swim-in place pool (or spool), if it has an artificial current machine. This allows swimmers to swim against a constant flow of water, without needing to move forward or turn at the ends. It also helps to tone and improve strokes.
Considerations for a Pool Lap
These are some things to consider when planning or building a lap pool:
- If you are going to be swimming laps in the pool, it is easier to use the offset or niche walls steps with a metal grabrail to get to the pool.
- Consider adding an integrated spa to your backyard if there’s enough space. This will allow you to enjoy the pool as well as the hot tub from one location.
- Deck surrounds are an integral part of any design. Think about what materials you would like to use, such as wood, concrete paving or tile. A swimming pool’s standard surround area should be between 4 and 8 feet in width on all sides. This allows for easy access, prevents debris from getting into the pool, and makes it easier to maintain the garden.
- What time of the day will you be most likely to use the pool? Are you most likely to use the pool in the morning, afternoon, and evening? This can have a significant impact on how your pool heats. Are you planning to use it all year or just in the spring? When building a heater unit for your lap pool, this can be a significant factor.
- Covers can be used to keep the heat out of your pool and reduce utility bills. You can choose from thermal blankets or fully automatic covers.