The Olympic Games became the high point of international competitive swimming and set the standard for swimming facilities. Swimming events at the 1896 Olympics were held in the open sea and those of the 1912 in an enclosure in Stockholm harbour, but standards of Olympic swimming facilities continued to rise.
By the 1930s, an Olympic-size pool was the sort of facility where elite swimmers wanted to compete and train. In Australia, even school competitions focused on standardised Olympic distances. Pools of non-standard distances afflicted with waves were seen as far from ideal training grounds for serious competition, swimming clubs and surf clubs still valued their long association with older non-Olympic ocean pools.
While they lacked the glory of the Olympic pools, older non-Olympic ocean pools were still good places to splash, float, learn to swim and then move on to elite competition pools. In the late-twentieth century, convivial winter swimming clubs helped bring competition back to many of Australia’s ‘less than Olympic-size’ ocean pools.