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Man-made swimming pools can be traced back to 2600 BC. The Great Baths of Mohenjodaro were probably the first intricately-designed watering holes for bathing. These were ancient and detailed baths located in Pakistan. They were made of bricks and plaster featuring terraced decks that are similar to the designs of some modern-day swimming pools. But, the Great Baths of Mohenjodaro were not designed as lap pools.
Researchers think these baths were mainly used for religious rituals.
A good number of man-made pools were created during the ancient times. Elementary-aged boys were taught swimming as part of their education in Greece and Rome. The first swimming pools were built by the Romans, which were different from the bathing pools. Gaius Maecenas of Rome built the first swimming pool that featured heating in the first century BC. Gaius Maecenas was a wealthy Roman lord who was considered as among the first art patrons. He provided support for renowned poets like Virgil, Propertius and Horace. His support allowed them to continue writing without having to worry about earning an income.
Swimming pools only gained their popularity in the middle part of the 19th century. Six indoor swimming pools featuring diving boards were set up in 1837 in London, England. Swimming pools became more popular after swimming competitions became part of the original events of the modern Olympic Games in 1896.
The first swimming pool in the United States was the Cabot Street Bath, which was located in Boston, according to the book entitled Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming in America. The pool was opened in 1868 and was used by the residents of the neighborhood since many homes in the area did not have their own baths.
Advancement in technology in the 20th century brought swimming pools to the next level of innovation. Chlorination and filtration systems were among the innovations that resulted from these advancements. These systems ensure the water used in the pool is clean. Before these developments, it was necessary to remove all the water from a swimming pool and replace it to ensure it is clean.
The creation of the gunite allowed the pool business in the US to grow. The material facilitates the installation of pools and allows more adaptable designs as well as reduces expenses compared to the previous ways of building a pool. The growth in the number of swimming pools was hastened with the relatively lower cost and rise of the middle class after the war.
There were other innovations after the invention of the gunite. Above-ground swimming pools started to enter the market in 1947, which created a new market for swimming pools. Soon, it became possible for swimming pool units to be installed within the day they were purchased.