Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Springboard In The Pond
The Springboard in the Pond: an intimate history of the swimming pool, by Thomas A.P. van leeuwen, edited by Helen Searing. Masachusetts Institute of Technology, 1998.
This would have to be one of my favourite books. Found it by chance in a second-hand bookshop in Melbourne.
Mainly it is about the domestic swimming pool, and its prime focus is the United States. The book includes much about human attitudes towards water, as well as wonderful drawings, plans and photographs of pools. It is a meditation on the philosophy of swimming as much as anything.
My favourite chapter is the first. It incudes discussion of the floating swimming pool as it emerged in Europe in rivers and lakes. Great to read in conjunction with Swimming Australia One Hundred Years, which includes information on these types of pools in Australia.
Below: Vienna: Damenschwimmschule, 1831, with diving tower. (Matti-Wurm and Storch, eds. Das Bad, 1991)
Below: Jacob Alt, watercolour of the Kaiserliche und Konigliche Militarschwimmschile in Vienna in 1815. (Vienna, Museum der Stadt Wien)