London Aquatics Centre celebrates one year anniversary
Flagship London 2012 venue, the London Aquatics Centre celebrates its first year as a public facility next month (1st March 2015) having established itself as a world class sporting venue and popular community resource.
Since reopening to the public in March 2014, the London Aquatics Centre has hosted numerous high profile events including the FINA/NVC World Diving Series, the Invictus Games, Sport Relief and National Paralympics Day. It is now home to the Tom Daley Diving Academy and served as a 2014 Commonwealth Games training base.
However, it is as a community facility that the venue has shown how the Olympic and Paralympic legacy can genuinely touch all parts of the community. Based in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the London Aquatics Centre has hosted an impressive 640,000 visitors between 1st March and 31st December 2014. There are now nearly 3,000 young people on the London Aquatics Centre Swim School programme and 300 primary school pupils per week are attending a new, intensive school swimming initiative.
The venue has been successful in encouraging a variety of use by local communities and day visitors. Particularly popular amongst families and regularly sold out, are the Extreme Aqua Splash sessions, which involve a water-based assault course of inflatable objects and take place on weekends and public holidays. For those who enjoy lane swimming and want to improve their fitness, extended opening hours (6am to 10.30pm) means that it is easy for visitors to fit a swim around work, family or educational commitments.
The venue, which is operated by charitable social enterprise GLL on behalf of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), also funds disability swimming lessons in partnership with the children’s charity Level Water and facilitates a High Performance Swimming Programme for young talented athletes, in association with the Amateur Swimming Association, LLDC and University of East London, led by renowned swimming coach Lisa Bates.
Peter Bundey, Deputy Managing Director at GLL, said, “The London Aquatics Centre is a truly unique and exceptional venue and we have been delighted by the response we have received from both the general public and elite sportsmen and women since it re-opened last year.
“The building’s incredible architecture and its location in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has made it a ‘go to’ sporting and leisure destination. We are committed to making the venue a beacon to show what Olympic and Paralympic legacy can achieve and we are working hard to ensure this is felt by all sections of the community. Any doubters of the legacy potential of these venues should come down to see what is being achieved and the breadth of use by young and old.
“The facilities here are world Class and this is great news for the future of all aquatic sports. The London Aquatics Centre has already proved it is somewhere that elite athletes really want to train and perform. With more major sporting events in the pipeline the venue looks set to play a significant part in the sporting landscape for many years to come.”
David Goldstone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said, “The London Aquatics Centre has proved to be a huge success with nearly 650,000 visitors already enjoying the benefits of having a world-class venue at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As the London Aquatics Centre celebrates its first birthday, it has already established itself as home to a wide variety of sports clubs and activities for elite athletes and local children learning to swim. It has also hosted an exciting range of events from Sport Relief to the Invictus Games and we look forward to welcoming the FINA/NVC Diving World Series, British Swimming Championships and 2016 European Swimming Championships.”
Diane Barrick, Head teacher at Carpenters Primary School in Newham, said, “What an amazing experience the children at Carpenters School have - both during the day and after school - accessing the swimming programmes at the London Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. An intense schedule of lessons has resulted in more children gaining confidence in water and learning to swim, through the well differentiated programme.
“The children continue to be excited and inspired when they meet stars from the 2012 Olympics. Having watched the Olympic Park grow and change over many years, the final transformation has been worth the wait; it provides amazing venues on our doorstep for the school community to enjoy.”
Kevin Yardley Head Coach at Barking and Dagenham Swimming Club, said, “Accessing the London Aquatics Centre has been one of the key factors in the improvement of the Barking and Dagenham Aquatics programme. The Borough's competitive swimmers get to train in one of the world's best swimming pools several times a week in their normal training groups and our coaching staff gets to come and work in an Olympic venue. The calm atmosphere and quality water time has allowed us to develop the swimmers' skills and attract high level athletes and coaches into the programme.
“Coming to the London Aquatics Centre is always a pleasure for swimmers and coaches alike. From the fantastic attitude of the pool side staff, who do everything possible to create the right environment for training, to the cleanliness and inspiring presentation of the building we really couldn't ask for a better venue. We work closely with the GLL team to plan access to the pool and couldn't ask for a better service."
About the London Aquatics Centre
• The London Aquatics Centre is operated by GLL, a charitable social enterprise on behalf of London Legacy Development Corporation.
• The venue offers inclusive disability access and sessions as well as single sex, parent and child, family, fun and fitness sessions.
• The London Aquatics Centre offers affordable swimming/diving lessons and sessions to all ages and abilities.
• The London Aquatics Centre hosts a variety of fitness sessions including use of the gym and dry diving.
• The London Aquatics Centre is a unique training venue for stars of the future with access to local and London swimming clubs.
• The London Aquatics Centre was used in Games time for Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Modern Pentathlon and Paralympic Swimming.
• The three pools contain 10 million litres of water and are lined with 180,000 tiles.
• There are almost 600,000 tiles in the whole building. Paralympic swimmer Liz Johnson laid the last tile in April 2011.
• Construction on the venue began in July 2008 and was completed for the Games in July 2011
• The facility’s spectacular wave-like roof is 160m long and up to 80m wide – giving it a longer single span than Heathrow Terminal 5. It rests on just three concrete supports.
• The building is 45m high.
• The aluminum roof has 50 per cent recycled content.
• The Aquatics Centre uses 32 per cent less potable (drinking) water compared to other pools. This is achieved by using low flow fittings and recycling water.