I honestly don't know where to start, there are so many great swimming opportunities in Berlin. In this blog post (and because it's winter) I am going to concentrate on the best indoor pools I've been to in the city and leave the many fantastic outdoor pools (Sommerbäder) and beautiful crystal clear lakes for another later post.
1. Stadtbad Neukölln
Is in my Kiez (local area) so of course I am obliged to like it, but truly this stunning pool, first opened in 1914, would be near the top of my list anyway because it is such an atmospheric place. The interior decor is stunning - classical columns, art nouveau fountains and murals. I've only been in the larger of the two pools and it's really not that large, but is perfect if you want to practice your TI drills and short repeats. If you come off-peak there should be plenty of space, although it's not really the place to do distance swimming.
2. Stadtbad Mitte (James Simon)
Another beautiful restored pool dating from 1930. It opened with the motto "Licht, Luft und Sonne" and it is an impressively open and bright indoor space. It's a 50m pool so it's no problem if you want to cover some distance or practice your stroke length with a tempo trainer. The pool is surrounded by glass, with wide lanes. It feels very peaceful in comparison to some other larger pools and is an inspiring place to swim. The only slightly weird thing is the shallow end is really, really shallow approximately 60cm - it's still possible to perform a flip-turn just about.
3. Stadtbad Charlottenberg
Located not far behind the Stadt Oper, this historic Stadtbad I'm sure has had a recent restoration as it features a stainless steel pool which I love. Similar to Stadtbad Neukölln this space is decorated with large frescos and murals and is beautiful and clean. It's also not huge pool but is peaceful and warm and a great place to fine-tune your Total Immersion stroke.
4. Stadtbad Finkensteinalle
Recently renovated this impressive 50m pool is outside of the city centre but with it's long windows, wide lanes and classical interior it is a pretty amazing place to swim. There's a decent amount of space here and it's nice to visit an slightly unfamiliar part of the city once in a while.
One unimportant note - I did find the mixed changing rooms pretty confusing. Entry to the pool is through a line of changing cabins with a door on either side - one to enter, another to exit. If you've not come across this before it's easy to forget to lock both sides... I wouldn't be surprised if this unusual design has led to a few embarrassing moments...
5. Wellenbad am Spreewaldplatz
Although not as exceptional as the other pools listed here this modern pool in central Kreuzberg is in a really handy location and features a decent 25m pool which looks out onto Görlitzer Park. There is also a fair size fun pool area which means if you are coming with kids you can practice your swimming whilst they play. There is also a sauna if you enjoy that.