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Lap Pool Dimensions: What’s the Best Size in 2024?

Lap Pool Dimensions: What’s the Best Size in 2024?

Ideal lap pool dimensions will give you plenty of room to swim without making your pool so big that it takes over your whole yard.

For those who want to swim laps without going to a shared pool, a lap pool is a perfect addition to their home.

There’s usually plenty of room for the occasional recreational activities too. 

Lap Pool Dimensions: Finding the Perfect Size

In most cases, a functional lap pool will be 40 feet long and anywhere from 6 to 10 feet wide. Typically, the depth will be about 4 feet, but if you like to take flip-style turns, you may want to go deeper.

Otherwise, you could end up touching the bottom during your turns. Before you discuss your build with your contractor, consider a few points:

  • Will you ever be hosting parties at your pool?
  • Do you want to use a diving board?
  • How many people will use your pool regularly?

These questions can help inform the discussion, yielding the best results for you and your pool building project

Ideal Lap Pool Dimensions: Finding the Perfect Fit

Standard lap pool dimensions pictured in a narrow pool in a backyard

Completed landscaping around new swimming lap pool in back yard with paver patios gardens and lawn Barrie, Ontario, Canada – July 18, 2021/Reimar/Shutterstock

While the standard lap pool might measure 40 feet by 10 feet with a depth of about 4 feet, that’s just a reference point. Building a pool should be much more of an individualized experience. 

Since adding a lap pool to your home is a significant construction project and a relatively large expense, you should make sure that you consider how you will use it.

After all, it’s pretty hard to make changes once construction begins. Before you start building, consider a few points related to the dimensions. 


Your first thoughts are best focused on how far you like to swim. Then, you need to balance that with how much space you have to accommodate the pool. 

For a lap pool, 40 feet of length is standard, but if you need a smaller footprint, 30 feet or so will suffice.

But you won’t enjoy a full-length lap. On the other end of the scale, if you go with a jumbo length of 100 feet, your pool probably won’t fit in your yard! Pools with a shorter length require frequent turns, making them less practical for serious swimmers.

Each turn breaks your rhythm and makes your exercise more tedious. Consider that a professional or competition pool can be 82 or 164 feet long. What’s more, as the dimensions increase, the price usually does too. 


Width is another consideration for your lap pool. While you can swim in any lane that is wider than the span of your arms, an overly narrow pool creates an overall negative effect. 

As you swim, the waves you create crash into the walls, sending rebounding water waves back to the middle of the pool. The choppiness these waves create will make swimming much more difficult, especially as you continue to churn the water, lap after lap. 

Plus, a narrow pool doesn’t work as well for your filter system, as the tight dimensions inhibit the circulation between the jets that return the water to the pool and the skimmers that suck it into the filter. 

Competition pools usually allow a lane of 8 feet per swimmer. So, while you could cut down the width, you probably won’t enjoy swimming as much. Moreover, if you plan to have two people swim laps simultaneously, you’ll need extra room. 

The ideal dimensions for a single-lane lap pool are about 8 to 10 feet. Wider is better if you’re going to swim at the same time as someone else routinely. But if you go too broad, you’re heading towards a full-size pool. 


Depth is a tricky thing to consider because a couple of factors are at play, and they essentially come down to preference. But failing to consider depth properly can also create a safety issue. 

The first major concern is the risk of diving into a shallow pool. If you use a diving board or platform to launch into the pool, you’ll need at least 6 feet of depth. Otherwise, the potential of hitting its bottom becomes too high.

Diving accidents involving swimmers colliding with the bottom of the pool are exceedingly dangerous. The next consideration is your swimming style. If you make flip-style turns, you don’t want to risk colliding with the bottom every time you turn for another lap. 

Since increasing excavation depth usually corresponds with a price increase, the idea of a shallow pool might be tempting. Or, you might think about having one end of the pool deeper than the other to cut down on costs.

The bottom line is that depth is a significant part of swimming safety. 4 feet is the minimum, and a little over 6 feet is typical for a lap pool. However, if you anticipate making professional-style dives and turns, consider bumping the depth up to 8 or 10 feet. 

Stairs and Layout

Another primary consideration is the layout. Aside from dimensions, the placement of the stairs will be a major consideration in your lap pool’s design.

You want easy accessibility, yet you likely won’t want to swim into the stairs section at the end of laps. 

So, the best place for the entry and exit stairs is on the side of the pool. That leaves the lap lane free of impediments. You should also consider how a ladder might affect your laps.

You don’t want it to be in the middle of the short ends of the pool, or you’ll collide with it. However, if you have a relatively deep lap pool, you might want a ladder in the corner of each end for safety.  

Other Considerations

Man in a backyard sitting next to an average-sized lap pool as the sun sets over the ocean


When you’re talking over your plans with your pool builder, consider a few other questions about your new lap pool.

These go beyond dimensions, but they will affect the size and overall design of your project. 

Do You Want to Host a Party?

If you’re thinking about hosting a party at your pool, a standard utilitarian lap pool might not be sufficient. However, with a little bit of planning, you can transform a lap pool without blowing your budget.  

One idea might be to incorporate a nearby spa into the deck of your pool. A spa can be a great place to cool off in the summer or warm up in the colder months, and integrating one into your pool build should be fairly straightforward. 

Another option is to add a very shallow section near the stairs, perhaps with built-in post holders for umbrella stands.

That gives you an area where you can be in the water at a very shallow depth without compromising your lap pool design. Some people opt to put chaise-lounge chairs here, adding to the relaxing atmosphere. 

Will There Be Diving at Your Pool?

If you have a diving board, you need to think long and hard about the depth. After all, a relatively shallow pool runs the risk of injury or even death. A few more feet of water might prevent a terrible accident. 

As a rule of thumb, where there’s a diving board, there should be at least 8 feet of depth. Some professional builders will recommend more. 10 or 12-foot-deep pools are much safer for divers, though 16 or 18 feet might be more appropriate. 

How Many People Will Use Your Pool?

If your pool is just for you to lap swim, keep things simple and stick with standard lap pool dimensions: 40 feet long by 8 to 10 feet wide, with at least 4 feet of depth. 

On the other hand, you might want to consider reflecting your social habits with friends and family in your building’s design.

You can maintain a lap pool but add in some extra width and depth to make the pool more accessible, enjoyable, and entertaining. 

If your pool is too narrow, too shallow, and too short, it can’t accommodate other activities as easily. Keep in mind that expanding the dimensions or adding features will increase construction costs.

Lap Pool Dimensions FAQ

Woman swimming laps in a backyard


Some questions about lap pool dimensions come up all the time. 

What is the minimum width of a lap pool?

The minimum width is 6 feet. Anything narrower won’t give you room to spread your arms for swimming strokes. Even at 6 feet, you will have a pronounced rebound wave effect, making it harder to swim.

Can you swim laps in a 30-foot pool?

You can swim laps in a 3-foot pool. But, they will be relatively short, and you will have to turn more frequently. That can break a swimmer’s rhythm and make workouts less effective and enjoyable.

How long is a lap in a standard pool?

In a standard competition pool, a lap is either 82 or 164 feet long.

Are lap pools worth it?

If you’re a serious swimmer, a lap pool is almost always worth it. The attraction goes beyond having the pool to yourself, too, as you eliminate the time spent traveling to your pool and the cost of a gym membership.

What is the cost of a lap pool?

The cost of a lap pool can range anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000, depending on its size and features. After all, a pool might have a simple filter system and a relatively small footprint. On the high-end, it might have LED lighting, a heater, an integrated spa, a salt-cell sanitizing system, and a large footprint.

So, What Are the Best Lap Pool Dimensions

The right lap pool dimensions for you will hinge on your individual needs. In particular, how you use it and whether the pool is just for you.

Once you have determined your pool’s size, it’s then a matter of bringing your vision to reality. Happy swimming!