Hovering over Bondi Beach, it's like ocean swimming minus the sharks
© Sacha Styles

The world’s sexiest swimming pools to train in

If you're looking for extra motivation in the water, these stunning swimming venues are where you'll find it.
Written by Nick Busca
6 min readPublished on
Swimming isn't just one of the funnest ways of getting fit, it's also one of the easiest. Travel anywhere in the world and you can rock up at most swimming pools with the basics – quick change of outfit, goggles, towel – and you're good to go.
Moreover, if you know where to look there are some absolutely incredible swimming pools scattered across the globe, each with their own unique selling point and Instagram-worthy dramatics.
So much so that we picked the most amazing pools to train in on the planet: a world away from the rusty leisure centres of our childhoods, these are a mix of the cool, the striking, the fearsome, offering even more motivation when doing lap after lap in a bid for peak fitness.

1. Bondi Icebergs Club, Sydney, Australia

Open all year and offering both a pool for laps and a pool for kids , this historic Bondi Beach venue has been operating for more than 100 years. Located on Australia's most famous sandy stretch, Icebergs is open to anyone, and if you need to warm up a little more or just want to relax after your session, BIC has a sauna as well. But the real draw is the view of the ocean, the crashing waves below providing inspiration for anyone needing extra gains.

2. Sea Point Pavillon, Cape Town, South Africa

Perched on the shores of the South Atlantic, and sitting in the shadow of Table Mountain, the Sea Point Pavillon offers pools and facilities for every taste and age, with one main 50m swimming pool mainly used for training, a diving pool for the brave, a 'fun' pool of 20m for the casuals, and a smaller one for children that is 11.5m. It is open from 7pm till 7pm every day of the year except in November and December when times vary.

3. Kitsilano, Vancouver, Canada

The 137m pool of Kitsilano is the only saltwater swimming pool in Vancouver. Nobody really knows why the pool measures 137m (not even the seasoned local triathletes), but that is the last thing they would complain about. With a stunning view of the mountains around the BC capital and skyline, surrounded by the ocean, this pool definitely needs a visit if you want to stretch your achy body and have a swim to remember. It's open from May to mid-September.

4. Aquaniene, Rome, Italy

If you get tired of gladiators, ancient ruins and Vespas (not that you ever would) and need a good splash in Rome, Aquaniene, in the north of the Eternal City, is where you need to go to work on your aquatic fitness. The centre offers three main pools including a 50m open-air one opened in the summer. When in Rome... go here.

5. Tooting Bec Lido, London, UK

Located in the south London neighbourhood of Tooting, this Lido is as practical as it is picturesque. With a total lane length of 100 yards and a width of 33 yards, it is listed as the largest fresh water pool by surface in the UK. But the Tooting lido is not only the largest; it is also one of the oldest having been opened in 1906, when it was built as a lake. Every Sunday and Bank Holiday throughout the year the lido holds its races at 9:30am; public access is from the beginning of May until the end of September, while the rest of the year (winter too) is reserved for members.

6. Club La Santa Lanzarote, Spain

The triathlon training camp mecca of Club La Santa in Lanzarote is one of the most feted fitness hubs in Europe. The club not only offers an ideal location for winter escapes from the cold and wet weather of the North, but among their facilities they also have three 50m swimming pools, all equipped with pace clocks at both ends of the pool and eight lanes divided by ropes. If you're feeling game, every week the club organises a social aquathlon which works out at a 200m swim followed by a 3km run.

7. Chamonix Mont Blanc, France

High altitude swimming with idyllic views to boot

High altitude swimming with idyllic views to boot

© Charmonix

Want a dose of high-altitude training with your swimming programme? This 50-metre open air swimming pool is perched below Mont Blanc, offering more mountainous scenery than a bumper sized box of Toblerone. For swimmers who are a bit outdoorsy, it's heaven on earth. The outdoor pools are only open in the summer, so the indoor pools may have to suffice in winter.

8. OCBC Aquatic Centre, Singapore

Spending time in Singapore? The OCBC Aquatic Centre is the right place to fit in a swim. The venue is state-of-the art and located just beside the Singapore Indoor Stadium and hosts international and local aquatic events alike. It offers 10 lanes for competition and eight lanes for training, and the aquatic sports centre also has places where you can go with a kayak or with the canoe. There are also some cool classes, as you can see above.

9. Bude sea pool, Cornwall, UK

Managed by the local Bude charity, Friends of Bude Sea Pool, this venue is FREE and visited by thousands of people every year. The tidal pool is a semi-natural amenity that has provided safe bathing since the 1930s. It is 91m long and 45m wide and created in a conservation area to shelter the swimmers from the Atlantic Ocean. The pool is open 24/7 – just once a year it is closed to be cleaned of algae, sand and stones. The best time to swim in the pool is during low tide. RNLI Lifeguards monitor the pool as part of their beach duties during peak times.

10. Alfonso del Mar, Algarrobo, Chile

San Alfonso del Mar is the world's largest swimming pool

San Alfonso del Mar is the world's largest swimming pool

© San Alfonso del Mar

Here it is, the mother of all the swimming pools – the San Alfonso del Mar, a private water resort in Chile that is 3,323 feet long (1 km!) and covers 20 acres of terrain. Massive, right? The pool also contains 250 million litres of seawater pumped directly from the Pacific Ocean. Although it may prove a minefield with all the kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and sailing going on, it's perfect for open water training. You will need to stay at one of the adjacent apartments to gain entry, but it's worth it.