The Pools for All Programme is a World Aquatics development initiative launched in 2019 with the aim to ensure that all World Aquatics National Member Federations have access to the best possible aquatics facilities to promote aquatic sports.

Constructed under the careful supervision and financing of World Aquatics, the new pool in Bhutan is situated at an impressive altitude of 8200 feet (2400 meters), making it the highest swimming pool in the world. This elevation adds a unique and exciting dimension to the facility, which swimmers of all levels can experience.

"The opening of this Pools for All pool in Bhutan represents a significant milestone in our mission to promote aquatics sports globally," said Husain Al-Musallam, the President of World Aquatics. "We are immensely proud to have collaborated with the Bhutan Aquatics Federation to bring this project to fruition. Together, we can create opportunities for and inspire athletes and aquatics enthusiasts across Bhutan.”

Bhutanese swimmers Kinley Lhendup and Sangay Tenzin, who both train at the World Aquatics Training Centre in Phuket, Thailand, reflected on the significance of the pool opening for aquatics participation across their country.

"Growing up as swimmers dreaming of competing on the world stage without a pool to learn or train in has presented challenges to overcome. Today, Bhutan dives into a new era of aquatics. I couldn't be more excited about what this facility in Thimphu means not only for Sangay and me personally but especially for the future of aquatic sports in our country," said Lhendup, a World Aquatics Scholarship Programme athlete and three-time World Aquatics Championships competitor.

"As we inaugurate Bhutan's first pool today, I am incredibly proud," shared Tokyo 2020 Olympian and Olympic Solidarity scholarship holder Tenzin, who most recently competed internationally at the World Aquatics Championships this year in Doha, Qatar. "Remember: even the slightest ripple can create waves of change.

“Today marks a victory for all lovers of aquatic sport."

Image Source: Rami Reddy Kona/World Aquatics

The opening ceremony was attended by dignitaries and officials from World Aquatics, the Bhutan Olympic Committee, local and regional officials, Bhutanese national federation presidents from four Olympic sports, and the Bhutan Department of Tourism.

HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, hailed the opening of the country’s first aquatics facility, saying the venue “symbolised the beginning of a new era for aquatics in Bhutan.”

His Royal Highness expressed his confidence that the swimming pool will emerge as a focal point for aspiring swimmers, seasoned athletes, and recreational enthusiasts alike. He emphasized this facility's critical role in fostering participation in aquatics, a cornerstone for nurturing elite athletic performance.

Image Source: Rami Reddy Kona/World Aquatics

"We are delighted to witness the opening of this facility," remarked Sonam Karma Tshering, President of the Bhutan Aquatics Federation. "The Pools For All facility not only opens doors for competitive swimming but also serves as a fantastic facility for our youth to develop their love for and talent in aquatics sports. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to World Aquatics for their unwavering support and partnership."

Image Source: Rami Reddy Kona/World Aquatics

Through the World Aquatics development programme, young athletes now more than ever have the opportunity to participate in competitive swimming. Together with the Bhutan Aquatics Federation, World Aquatics continues to realise this and looks forward to facilitating a future filled with opportunity, success and a love of swimming for all.

About World Aquatics

Driven by the vision of a world united by water for health, life and sport, World Aquatics is the international governing body for aquatic sports. Founded in 1908, World Aquatics is an independent organisation of 210 National Federations and five Continental Organisations. 

World Aquatics oversees six aquatic sports – swimming, water polo, diving, artistic swimming, open water swimming, high diving – and is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the leading global authority of these sports.

About Bhutan Aquatics Federation

The Bhutan Aquatics Federation is the governing body for aquatics sports in the Kingdom of Bhutan. The federation strives to provide accessible opportunities for athletes to excel and represent Bhutan on the global stage.