One of the most iconic venues of London 2012 will open to the public this weekend.
The London Aquatic Centre, in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will welcome the public, schools and amateur and professional swimmers to the venue from Saturday.
Designed by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, the wave-like structure includes two 50m pools, a 25m diving pool, which is used by Olympian Tom Daley as his training venue, and a gym.
The main 50m competition pool used during the Olympics will be predominantly used for lane and fitness swimming.
Operated by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), general manager Gregg Holland said the facility has already been well-received with over 100 children signing up for the diving programme.
He said: “It is incredible to have this on the doorstep of our six host boroughs.
"We are working closely with schools in the borough to enable them to swim here and make the most of this amazing facility.”
A second 50m pool, used during the Olympics as the training pool, will usually be divided into two sections and used for family sessions, swimming lessons and inflatables.
The diving pool, used today by Tom Daley as he trained ahead of his next competition in China next month, hosts 5 platforms up to 10m and 3 springboards.
“This pool is the best in the world,” Mr Daley said.
The diving pool will mainly be used for professionals and people signed up to a coaching programme.
The centre has been changed significantly since the games last year.
The temporary seating stands which held 17,500 seats for spectators have been reduced to 2,500 and 2,800sqm of glass has been installed in its place.
The three pools combined contain 10 million litres of water and are lined with 180,000 tiles.
Its iconic wave-like roof was built using 50 per cent recycled material.
Swimmers from Waltham Forest clubs had a training session in the pool this morning.
Sixth form student Tanisha Somers, 17, of St Bonaventure’s Catholic Comprehensive School in Forest Gate, was among hundreds of pupils from three of the six host boroughs to swim at the centre today.
She said: “This is a great venue and is very useful for young swimmers. To be among the first swimmers in here since some of the world’s greatest in 2012 is unbelievable.
“The 50 metre pool is scarily deep. Having this venue on our doorstop is great as swimming is a necessity of life and there are some children out there that are less fortunate. In comparison to local swimming pools, this venue is light-years ahead in terms of facilities.”
Paralympian Amy Marren, 15, competed at the venue in the 2012 games and came fourth in three of her events. Ms Marren will be using the Aquatic Centre to train ahead of Brazil’s games in 2016.
“I love it here. It takes my breath away and I will forever have such amazing memories. The Aquatic Centre is a great facility accessible to the whole community and is really affordable.”
This weekend it will be open from 9am-5pm, and thereafter from 6:30am to 10pm. Swimming will cost from £3.50 for a session and as little as £2.50 for a junior.
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