Sports Pools vs Deep/Shallow End Pools

benm2010

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Mar 16, 2017
143
Fort Worth, Texas
Count me in on the deep end. We've had several parties with kids from 2-17. All but the absolute youngest couldn't get enough of the diving board. My brother is 6'5 and loves being able to not touch the bottom. The pool is relatively large so I've never seen a problem with space in either the shallow or deep end.
 

chiefwej

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Jun 12, 2011
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Our pool is 36' x 14' with 4' shallow end and a 6' deep hopper. We like to jump/cannonball in the deep end to enter the pool. Kids play basketball and jump in catching the football in the deep end while adults all hang out in chairs on the tanning ledge or stand in the shallow end with a beer/cocktail. Occasional game of volleyball. Only thing I wish is that our pool was 2' wider, but my yard just wan't big enough....

Shallow/deep end vote here :)
How does 6’ count as deep? Most play pools are 5 or 6 foot. To allow any diving you need more like 9’ or even more in depth and sufficient horizontal clearance.
 

spoonman

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Jun 16, 2016
416
Peoria, AZ
I vote for deep (provided there is ample shallow area). The deeper the better.

My pool is 6' (and change) deep which is the deepest that I had room for in my yard. I would have loved to have gone much deeper if the space was available, or if it wouldn't have made the entire pool a slope. It would be great to have a pool deep enough for consequence-free (as much as possible) diving...something like 10-12ft :mrgreen:
 

Dirk

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How does 6’ count as deep? Most play pools are 5 or 6 foot. To allow any diving you need more like 9’ or even more in depth and sufficient horizontal clearance.
It doesn't, at least for the purpose of my tally. This one went into the "Other" column. It's a little tough to sort out some of the comments into votes, but a consensus is emerging in spite of that. I'm hoping the real value of this thread, for someone trying to decide, will be in reading through it, not so much in the numbers I'm posting in #1. "Deep end" and "sports pool" seem to mean different things to different people...

I've added my depth profile, both what it is, and what I wish it was, to my first post, to encourage others to do the same. I think there's value in that data for folks in the design stage.
 

Poolbella

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Jun 28, 2018
246
Houston, TX
Our pool will be 3.5ft from the shallow end for 20 ft, then the remaining 20ft slope down to 5ft. Husband wanted 6ft but I didn’t want any part of the pool to be unusable for the kids. They’re not really jumpers and definitely not divers.
 

Dirk

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Our pool will be 3.5ft from the shallow end for 20 ft, then the remaining 20ft slope down to 5ft. Husband wanted 6ft but I didn’t want any part of the pool to be unusable for the kids. They’re not really jumpers and definitely not divers.
Depth, like all the other aspects of your pool, have to fit your use and preference and family, of course. There is no wrong way to do it. But as a counterpoint: both my boys were swimming well by 5, and swimming with confidence in the deep end by six. If my three-year-old and I had just a couple more weeks of pool season this year, she'd been swimming this year, too. And probably chasing the boys around in the deep end next summer. I believe my 3.5' shallow end helped their confidence sooner than a 4' shallow end would have, as they had the "tippy toe safety net" that many months sooner as they were gaining swimming skills. But once they take flight, it's only a few weeks later that they're in the deep end without aid.

That said, I can't really argue that a 5' max depth has some inherent safety advantages. But I could argue that a child that knows he can swim over a bottom he can't hop his way out from is a different type of safety advantage...
 

Poolbella

Silver Supporter
Jun 28, 2018
246
Houston, TX
Depth, like all the other aspects of your pool, have to fit your use and preference and family, of course. There is no wrong way to do it. But as a counterpoint: both my boys were swimming well by 5, and swimming with confidence in the deep end by six. If my three-year-old and I had just a couple more weeks of pool season this year, she'd been swimming this year, too. And probably chasing the boys around in the deep end next summer. I believe my 3.5' shallow end helped their confidence sooner than a 4' shallow end would have, as they had the "tippy toe safety net" that many months sooner as they were gaining swimming skills. But once they take flight, it's only a few weeks later that they're in the deep end without aid.

That said, I can't really argue that a 5' max depth has some inherent safety advantages. But I could argue that a child that knows he can swim over a bottom he can't hop his way out from is a different type of safety advantage...
My kids are 8 and 14 and can both swim, but they also both have their quirks. I’m sure that when we have friends over, there will be a wish for deeper water, but the pool isn’t big enough to do that very regularly!
 

SBall

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Jun 27, 2017
252
Nashville, TN
I vote to reclassify as shallow/deep (so 8'+ feet for diving boards), shallow/moderate (deep end in the 5'-7' range), and sports pool (which is more of the 3'-5'-4' style). I have a "deep" end, which is significantly deeper than the shallow end, but not 8'.
 

Dirk

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I vote to reclassify as shallow/deep (so 8'+ feet for diving boards), shallow/moderate (deep end in the 5'-7' range), and sports pool (which is more of the 3'-5'-4' style). I have a "deep" end, which is significantly deeper than the shallow end, but not 8'.
You mean reclassify my vote-tallying methods? (Well, we are coming into election season, so I suppose that type of thinking is in the air!! ;) )

Your suggestion is pretty much what I'm already doing. I'm calling "deep end/shallow" as anything over 7'. "Sport pool" as anything 5 or under (but not limiting that to the shallow-deep-shallow profile of most sport pools), and what you're calling "shallow/moderate" I'm lumping into "Other" (which is 5-7). As I mentioned, I'm less concerned about the actual tally than I am about the conversation, and how people feel about what they ended up with, or if they wish they'd done it differently, and if so, how and why.

Like I predict for the "sport pool" eventually, the classic, once-industry-standard, diving board pool is dead. Sure, some people will build them, but diving boards are virtually uninsurable and there aren't too many PBs who will put one in (any?), so I didn't see the need for a category for a diving board pool, there wouldn't be enough votes to warrant it. No one yet has mentioned a diving board.

I think of a deep end as one in which you have to clear your ears at some point on the way down. That's about 7' for me. Those are generally safe for any kind of jumping trick (cannon balls and jackknifes) for just about any size person. Even if jumping from a large rock. Diving can be accomplished with care, but not from a board (see above).

By "Sport Pool" I'm thinking any pool in which most adults and teens can touch bottom and have at least their nose out of the water anywhere in the pool, but most of the pool is around 4' deep.

And my "Other" category is most anything else, it covers pools with deep ends deeper than most people are tall, and have enough water for kids to jump and dive into, but maybe not large adults.
 

ponygirl

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Jul 5, 2016
95
Holly Springs, NC
We enjoy our shallow "deep" end and really appreaciate that because of the gradual slope, the whole pool is useable from end to end. Our slope is not a slippery slide you struggle to walk on or get a foothold on like a lot of vinyl pools we've been in. First season, I thought about the higher sidewalls to give us 6 inches more inches in the shallow end, but this second full season, I didn't give it another thought. The extra $3k wasn't worth it.
 

Dirk

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I didn't consider the slipperiness of vinyl. I don't have a traction problem with pebble (too much, if anything), but that is definitely something to consider for going with installing vinyl. Thanks!
 

spoonman

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Jun 16, 2016
416
Peoria, AZ
How does 6’ count as deep? Most play pools are 5 or 6 foot. To allow any diving you need more like 9’ or even more in depth and sufficient horizontal clearance.
Many consider 6’ as deep as most people cannot stand past 5.5’ max. Most sports pools are really in the 4.5-5.5’ range. 6-7’ is sort of the middle ground depth... not deep enough to dive, but much deeper than typical play pools. Slopes are also more evident in the 6’+ range.
 

Tenamarie123

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Jul 6, 2017
68
Warren, MI
How does 6’ count as deep? Most play pools are 5 or 6 foot. To allow any diving you need more like 9’ or even more in depth and sufficient horizontal clearance.
I guess to me if it's at least 6' deep, it's over most people's heads and I consider that a deep end? I guess Dirk's poll should have been asked "would you prefer a diving pool or not", lol?
 

Dirk

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I guess to me if it's at least 6' deep, it's over most people's heads and I consider that a deep end? I guess Dirk's poll should have been asked "would you prefer a diving pool or not", lol?
Just want to reestablish... my thread is intended to help people in the throws of designing their pool. It's a conversation about depth profile, what works for each pool owner and why, and what could have been done differently and why. Comments about the depths and shape of the bottom of your pool, and how each has worked out for you, are most welcome.
 

Tx-C

Bronze Supporter
Aug 23, 2017
120
Midlothian/ Texas
Wow! love the pool with lazy river! When you say "4 ft straight to 9.5 ft drop", is this a gradual slope? does the slope take up much of your swim space?

no slope at all, it’s a drop to 9.5ft lol. You can see the depth drops on the pic I posted. We have had 20 people in that pool at one time and plenty of room to hang out as well as kids jumping in the deep end. So glad we did not slope our pool or we would have lost some shallow space. Our builder did recommend a slope for diving but with the slide falling in and the jumping rock kids are fine. They usually just want to do cannon balls or use the slide.
 

Dirk

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no slope at all, it’s a drop to 9.5ft lol. You can see the depth drops on the pic I posted. We have had 20 people in that pool at one time and plenty of room to hang out as well as kids jumping in the deep end. So glad we did not slope our pool or we would have lost some shallow space. Our builder did recommend a slope for diving but with the slide falling in and the jumping rock kids are fine. They usually just want to do cannon balls or use the slide.
I didn't notice that drop off. That is a very interesting design! No slope, no "waste!" Did you mark the edge in some way, like you would for a step or bench? Is there any concern someone won't see it, and dive or jump too close to that edge? Has it happened?

The deepest part of my pool is, like, 1' square. My deep end is a bowl, so while I can claim 7.5', it's only in that one tiny spot. I like the idea of a flatter bottom in the deep end, to maximize what real estate is actually deep. No fun to brush a 9.5' deep corner, though, I suppose. My bowl is pretty easy to brush.
 

spoonman

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2016
416
Peoria, AZ
Funny you mentioned brushing, Dirk. I find that it is SIGNIFICANTLY more work to brush my 6'-ish deep end as opposed to areas that are 4.5' or less. I can only imagine how it is for people with much deeper and larger pools. Sounds like yours isn't too bad...maybe you are super buff or something...haha
 

NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
305
Brentwood, CA
no slope at all, it’s a drop to 9.5ft lol. You can see the depth drops on the pic I posted. We have had 20 people in that pool at one time and plenty of room to hang out as well as kids jumping in the deep end. So glad we did not slope our pool or we would have lost some shallow space. Our builder did recommend a slope for diving but with the slide falling in and the jumping rock kids are fine. They usually just want to do cannon balls or use the slide.
I love your steep drop! i saved your build pictures in my idea folder.

I haven't seen it anywhere else yet in my planning.

Do you have any cons to report about it? i posted a question in the cleaning thread asking whether a robot can handle that