A Devon swimming pool lifeguard amassed more than 3,000 images of children being sexually abused, a court heard.
Alexander Steer, 30, admitted making, possessing, distributing and incitement to distribute child pornography.
Steer, of Wolverwood Close, Plympton, was given a 36-month supervision order and sent on a sex offenders treatment programme.
Plymouth Crown Court heard that none of the images were from Plympton pool where Steer worked.
Police found thousands of images and four child pornography movies on his two computers when they raided his home after a tip-off, the court was told.
The court heard that Steer spent hours on the internet exchanging chat and indecent photographs with paedophiles.
Steer was working as a lifeguard at Plympton Pool in Plymouth, which is used by thousands of children, but the court was told he had not taken any images of them or tried to make contact with them.
Prosecutor Louise Howard said police had found 3,604 images, including seven considered at level four, the second most serious category, as well as four movies. They showed boys and girls aged nine to 16.
Judge Paul Darlow told Steer: "Child pornography is the loss of innocence and theft of childhood for all those children subjected to humiliation and shame and those who show an interest in this material perpetuate this brutal business."