Cardiff International Pool

Fantastic light and bright pool on a sunny Cardiff day

Fantastic light and bright pool on a sunny Cardiff day

After a disappointing swim at the Wales National Pool in Swansea last night, I’m up at 6 am for an early swim before another busy workday begins! I lucked out on the Hilton Diamond status upgrades last night, no one mentioned at check-in that they’d upgraded my cheaper than motel standard room to the Hilton Cardiff Presidential Suite! I was lost for a minute looking for a room number … and wow, it was impressive, but the view was something else, looking down across Cardiff castle and parklands, shame I didn’t check-in until 9:30 pm and leaving early!

Collect my car from the concierge and plug the pool address into the sat-nav, I have a 2-hour window before they switch the pool from 50m to 25m configuration. It’s a beautiful sunny morning, glad I’m in shorts and a t-shirt.

Arrive at the pool, park and make my way to the reception, I’m immediately impressed. Its a modern, glass structure with full height glass walls, can’t wait to get inside! The pool opened in 2009, just in time to support team training camps for the London 2012 Olympics. The building’s surrounded by several other impressive sports venues including a Velodrome and Whitewater course.

Pay the very reasonable £4.80 entrance fee, a quick change in the communal changing village (we seem to love this term in the UK!) and head out to the pool deck. To the left is an aqua park with slides, a beach and a lazy river - looks fantastic and my kids would love this! To the right, the competition pool deck. The pool is surrounded on three sides by huge, full-height glass, the impressive, light, bright space is enhanced by the beautiful sunny day outside!

Pleased to see the pool is still in 50m configurations, the moveable pool floor is set to the proper two-metre depth and it’s a full 10-lane, 25m width. Plenty of free lanes, jump in the centre and make a start. The water is crystal clear and just the right temperature.

I had a problem last night with shortness of breath, annoyingly, I seem to have the same problem again this morning. Quickly decide to try and split to shorter sets, complete 4x 100’s before I have to switch to limping through 50’s! Really disappointed, the pool is fantastic and almost certainly going on my top-10 pool’s list. Jump out and decide I’m definitely going to return at some point and update this post with a proper swim - watch this space!

Edit - Went for a second swim this evening at my local home pool while the youngest kid had his rookie lifeguard training. Completed the swim without a problem, faster than usual and at a faster pace! I must be allergic to Welsh pool water!

Swim Stats

  • 1000 meters total swim
  • 1:25 pace / 100m
  • Garmin Swim Watch



Easily one of the best pools I've swum to date - I highly recommend anyone with an interest in excellent swimming facilities make a trip to Cardiff to give this pool a spin. The objective is different here to that the London Aquatic Centre, they've built a facility to support both the local community and attract top-level swimming to the South Wales area. They've found the right balance of family-friendly fun aqua-park and pro-facilities to promote top-level swimming - I only wish we had such a great facility at home.

Pool Details

  • Length 50 meters
  • 10-lane pool
  • Indoor

Cardiff International Pool
Olympian Drive, Cardiff, Wales, CF11 0JS, UK

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