German Language Blog

German Swimming Vocabulary Posted by on Jul 14, 2021 in Culture, Language, Sports

Guten Tag! Today we’re going to learn some vocabulary for a popular summer activity: das Schwimmen – Swimming!

Swimming vocabulary


Photo by Drew Dau on Unsplash

Firstly, here is the verb schwimmen (to swim) in the present tense:

Ich schwimme – I swim/am swimming
Du schwimmst – You swim/are swimming (informal, singular)
Er/sie/es schwimmt He/she/it swims/is swimming
Wir schwimmen – We swim/are swimming
Ihr schwimmt – You swim/are swimming (informal, plural)
Sie schwimmen – You swim/are swimming (singular, formal)
sie schwimmen – They swim/are swimming

The swimming pool

There are a few different words in German for ‘swimming pool’.

  • das Schwimmbad – swimming pool (referring to the institution itself, ie. “I’m off to the pool”)
  • das Schwimmbecken – swimming pool (referring to the pool itself ie. “I’m in the pool”)

The word Schwimmbad is sometimes used in place of Schwimmbecken- people will know what you mean if you use it this way. On the other hand, it would sound strange to use the word Schwimmbecken when talking about the Schwimmbad (the building/place itself), as this refers specifically to the pool.


Schwimmbecken. Photo by Yaroslav Melnychuk on Unsplash

There are, in fact, several types of Becken, as there are several different types of swimming pools/pool areas (Becken on its own translates to ‘basin’ or ‘pool’ – but, fun fact, it is also the word for ‘pelvis’!):

  • das Schwimmerbecken – pool for competent swimmers
  • das Nichtschwimmerbecken – pool for non-swimmers
  • das Babybecken – pool for babies/toddlers
  • das Wettkampfschwimmbecken – Olympic swimming pool (der Wettkampf – competition)
  • das Planschbecken – paddling pool
  • das Sprudelbecken – jacuzzi/hot tub

You may also come across the words Freibad and Hallenbad when swimming in Germany:

  • das Freibad – outdoor pool
  • das Hallenbad – indoor pool

Types of swimming


das Schmetterlingsschwimmen. Photo by Gentrit Sylejmani on Unsplash

  • Breast stroke – das Brustschwimmen
  • Back stroke – das Rückenschwimmen
  • Butterfly stroke – das Schmetterlingsschwimmen
  • Front crawl – das Kraulschwimmen

Other vocabulary

Arm bands/floats – die Schwimmflügel

Diving board – das Sprungbrett

Changing cubicle – die Umkleidekabine

Water slide – die Wasserrutsche

Swimming cap – die Schwimmhaube

Swimming costume – der Badeanzug

Swimming trunks – die Badehose

Deck chair/lounger – der Liegestuhl

Water depth – die Wassertiefe

Das Thermalbad – thermal pool

If thermal baths are more your thing, you might be interested in reading about or visiting Therme Erding, Bayern. Situated just outside München, this is Europe’s largest thermal spa. It boasts 27 Wasserrutschen (water slides), and more than 35 Saunen (saunas)!

Der Wasserpark – water park

A Wasserpark, sometimes called an Erlebnisbad (lit ‘experience pool’), is for the thrill-seekers! Baden-Württemberg’s Europa-Park and Köln’s Aqualand Freizeitbad are both popular destinations for those wanting an active, exciting day out in the water. Spaß (fun) is guaranteed!


Photo by Brandon Hoogenboom on Unsplash

I hope this has been helpful and taught you a few new words! Hopefully now when you visit a German Schwimmbad or Wasserpark, you will be familiar with some of the vocabulary you’ll see dotted around the place.

If you like this post, you might like this one on what it’s like to visit a spa in Germany.

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.