The town’s indoor swimming pool is the oldest indoor pool in Slovakia with an Olympic sized 50 m long swimming pool. It was built in 1963 according to designs by Ing. arch. Anton Cimmermann. The pool was opened to the public on 6 August 1963 and 2,500 people visited it on the first day it was open. Later, two 50 m long open-air pools designed by Ing. arch. Stanislav Toman and Ladislav Levický were added. Here is some information on the new swimming pool: the pool is 50 m long and 20 m wide, with 8 swimming lanes, and a 3 m and two 1 m high diving boards. There is a spectators’ gallery above the pool with seating for 700-800 and a media gallery. In the upstairs changing rooms, there are lockers for 300 women and 300 men and various changing rooms for schools and clubs. Upstairs there is a lounge and offices for the pool’s managers, referees and coaches. The pool has an extensive water filtration system, and special heating and air conditioning. There are two pools, one above the other – the upper one is for swimming in and the lower one is closed, and water from the upper one is discharged into the lower for cleaning and the water from the lower pool is returned through the filtration system. This not only enables the water to be treated, but also saves water which would otherwise have to be drained away and topped up by the town’s water supply.
By the summer of 1930 a swimming club had been established as part of the Czechoslovak recreational club in Žilina. It emerged in relation to the completion of the 33 x 13 m military swimming pool at the shooting range. Swimming developed in Žilina much as it did elsewhere in Slovakia. In the late 19th century a swimming pool had been built for the infantry unit, which used until the outbreak of World War I. After the creation of Czechoslovakia, Žilina became a garrison town and since the new garrison’s rooms were moved to Rajec Road, the old swimming pool renovations were cancelled and a new swimming pool was built in Rajčianka, which was used not only for swimming but also for training and competitions. There was considerable interest in swimming, which led to a new swimming pool being built, with a small springboard and a 3 metre high diving tower. The North Slovak Swimming County was created in Žilina on 6 August 1934. The county water polo championships took place independently, but Žilina was the unchallenged winner of both. Both of Žilina’s clubs competed as a single team at joint events. On 5 December 1939, the Slovak government dissolved all sports associations in Slovakia. The Slovak Association of Hikers and Skiers was created as to take the place of the Czechoslovak Recreational Club with a branch in Žilina. The swimming club also became part of ŠK Žilina. The quality of the swimming declined steeply.
After 1945 the swimming club continued within its new organisation. Ladislav Berger was club leader. The club was in existence for just a short period of time. Pulp mill supervisor Ing. Struharňanský came up with the idea of turning the winter garden greenhouse into a swimming pool measuring 6 x 13 m. Tatran Pulp Mill swimming division was created. In 1958 Žilina won the county championships in Banská Bystrica, which provided motivation for other activities. The swimmers resolved to build Czechoslovakia’s first indoor swimming pool in Žilina. The idea was the brainchild of L Dubnicay. When Žilina lost its status as a county town in 1960 due to regional reorganisation, the town faced losing its swimming pool to Banská Bystrica. In the end, however, Žilina became home to a new public pool on 15 July 1963. E Bratský became the first ever paid swimming coach in 1960. The swimmers became part of the physical education organisation Locomotive Žilina. A real change in quality occurred after 1 September 1964, when the first swimming classes were started at the elementary school on Konevova Street. The achievements of Žilina’s swimmers were reflected in many national competitions. They were trained by J Salamánek and J Počinek, but sadly they passed away suddenly and swimming started to stagnate in Žilina. The situation was reversed at the beginning of the 1980s thanks to MUDr J Hlaváč, who was a member of the swimming sports association committee between 1972 and 1982. G Varnai became the paid coach and T Štefánik was in charge of sports classes. Already by 1982, men’s and women’s teams had been accepted onto the Slovak National League.
The swimming pool was completely reconstructed from 1 September 1991 to 1996. The Nereus Swimming Club was created and led by P Fabiáne who tried to continue in the footsteps of the Locomotive swimming club. He successfully carried on the tradition of swimming in Žilina. Under the guidance of qualified coaches the club is once more trying to become a leading club in Slovakia. Nereus has three clubs within it: swimming, triathlon and water polo. The swimming club concentrates on performance and peak swimming, while the triathlon club consists of only a small group of competitors; nonetheless they are among the best in Slovakia. They have their own race called the "Žilina mini triathlon". The reconstructed swimming pool is essential to developing all kinds of swimming in Žilina. Work by veteran swimmers led on 14 June 2000 to the establishment of a Pensioners’ Swimming Club. R Hrmel was chosen to lead the club. It contains dozens of swimmers who achieve success at the national and international levels. Other successful water sports include finswimming, begun by Dolphin, a Scuba diving club, in 1973. This club trained under the guidance of P Karpiš. In 1964 the club introduced diving and E Wiesner became team leader. Interest in diving was short-lived and didn’t take off again until 1974 when state-of-the-art diving boards were installed. The Žilina team was the only one in Slovakia to organise its own competition called the "Žilina Prize", beginning in 1971. Unfortunately once coach E Wiesner had left in 1993, the diving club ceased activity.
Water polo was introduced in Žilina when the swimming club within the Czechoslovak Recreational Club began. Water polo was enjoyed by many members in Žilina and they regularly won local competitions. In the era of the Slovak State, when Jews were banned from participating, the club was disbanded. It began again in 1946 under the leadership of L Berger. The new swimming pool saw renewed interest in water polo. M Láznička managed the club from 1963 on. VTJ Dukla water polo team was established in 1966 and was more successful. It was managed by E Wiesner and participated in the Slovak National League in the 1967/1968 season, winning it a year later. In 1970 Žilina’s team was an Army team, part of the Dukla Banská Bystrica Army Centre. In 1973 it won second place in the league competition. When the Army team relocated to Banská Bystrica, water polo gradually fell into decline and only student and junior teams continued to compete. The club ceased activity completely when the swimming pool closed in 1991. On 17 December 2002 the Nereus water polo team was set up, which hopes to continue the tradition, but so far it only has school pupil teams. The teams are trained by R Zibolen and F Vacko. We hope they will eventually attain the level of their predecessors!
Source: Mgr. Jozef Moravčík
It can be visited
■ interior during the open hours Indoor swimming pool Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: C6