Olympic swimming pools around the world

From Helsinki to London, we explore the pools and relive their most iconic moments.
Swimmer Eric Moussambani comes up for air as he swims the front crawl at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Swimmer Eric Moussambani comes up for air as he swims the front crawl at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.Swimmer Eric Moussambani comes up for air as he swims the front crawl at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Pack your towel and take a dip at these Olympic swimming pools around the world.

You’ll recognise them past Games, from Helsinki 1952 to London 2012 – and we’ve picked out the ones that are still open to the public.

London 2012, London Aquatics Centre

Steffen Diebler and Michael Phelpsdive into the Olympic swimming pool in London 2012.
Steffen Diebler and Michael Phelpsdive into the Olympic swimming pool in London 2012.Steffen Diebler and Michael Phelpsdive into the Olympic swimming pool in London 2012.

The swimming venue built for London 2012 is an indoor heated pool with large glass windows stretching down the length of the building, which is how it earned its nickname, “The Stingray”. It’s a bright and modern space, perfect for swimming a few lengths – or even tackling an inflatable obstacle course.

This is where USA’s Nathan Adrian snatched victory in the men’s 100m freestyle with 0.01 second to spare. It’s also where Michael Phelps swam his historic, pre-first retirement final race, winning gold with team USA in the 4×100 medley relay. He then came out of retirement to swipe five more golds at Rio 2016.

London Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 2ZQ, United Kingdom

Sydney 2000, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre

Much like London, the Sydney Olympic pool is now an action-packed venue for the public, ideal for serious swimming, gentle lengths and family fun alike. The competition pool has 10 spacious lanes, and underwater windows for innovative viewing. For youngsters, the water slide and bubble beach in the centre are a guaranteed hit.

The most memorable Olympic swimming moment here was the unlikely victory of Eric Moussambani in the men's 100m freestyle heat. After his two competitors were disqualified for false starts, Eric – who had never been in an Olympic-sized pool before – swam solo, with the crowds raising the roof and cheering him on for the full 1 minute, 52 seconds.

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Olympic Boulevard, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW 2127, Australia

Atlanta 1996, The McAuley Aquatic Center

Said to be one of the fastest pools in the world due to a careful balance of water depth and precision tile design, the Atlanta Olympic swimming pool is a must for serious swimmers wanting to beat their best time.

The main stadium seats close to 2,000 people, who can watch the action in both the competition pool and the diving pool, which sit side-by-side.

Relive the 1996 Atlanta Games with these videos of the women’s 200m backstroke heat and men’s 100m freestyle heat.

The McAuley Aquatic Center, 750 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0110, USA

1972 Munich, Olympia-Schwimmhalle

With natural light flooding in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, Munich’s Olympic swimming pool is an inspiring place to practice your strokes. The aqua complex boasts an impressive collection of indoor and outdoor pools, as well as saunas, slides and diving boards.

It was also the venue for one of Olympic swimming’s greatest performances, when the USA’s Mark Spitz won seven gold medals – smashing seven world records in the process. Check out his amazing achievements in our video.

Olympia-Schwimmhalle, Coubertinplatz 1, 80809 Munich, Germany

1976 Montreal, Parc Olympique

A black and white image of the Olympic swimming pool and seating stalls at in Montreal.
A black and white image of the Olympic swimming pool and seating stalls at in Montreal.A black and white image of the Olympic swimming pool and seating stalls at in Montreal.

Since its construction for the 1976 Games, the Montreal Olympic pool has been renovated to give visitors a top swimming experience. The original competition pool welcomes swimmers to its lanes, while also hosting group sessions throughout the week. Once you’ve dried off, head up the Montreal Tower – the world’s tallest inclined tower – for incredible views over the Olympic park and beyond.

Parc Olympique, 4141 Pierre-De Coubertin Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, H1V 3N7, Canada

1952 Helsinki, Swimming Stadium

Olympic gold medallist Jean Boiteux helps his father climb out of the Helsinki Olympic swimming pool.
Olympic gold medallist Jean Boiteux helps his father climb out of the Helsinki Olympic swimming pool.Olympic gold medallist Jean Boiteux helps his father climb out of the Helsinki Olympic swimming pool.

Originally, this outdoor pool was built to host the 1940 Olympics. However, due to the outbreak of war, the Games were cancelled, and the pools were used to store wartime supplies of vegetables and herring instead. Finally, in 1952 the Olympics came to town and the competitions got underway in the Swimming Stadium.

One of the most heart-warming stories to come from those Games was when French swimmer Jean Boiteux won the 400m freestyle. Overcome with joy, his father Gaston jumped into the water – fully dressed – to celebrate with Jean. Today, this Olympic swimming pool is a popular gathering spot for locals in the summer with spacious swimming lanes, as well as diving boards, slides, sports fields and a sundeck.

Swimming Stadium, Hammarskjӧldintie 500250, Helsinki, Finland

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