LONDON, England, February 4. SEVERAL cities are in the stretch run for consideration to host the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, including New York and London.
Swimming and other sports can often benefit by these massive bidding efforts as they foster the development of facilities that otherwise might be less likely to see the light of day. Such may be the case with a new aquatic center “in the heart” of London. The pool may not yet be built – we don’t know if the pool will end up being built or not if London is not successful in winning the Games bid – but the project has at least gone down the road in terms of determination of site availability and suitability and significant design work.
This can only be good for long term swimming concerns both in Great Britain and the international swimming community. British Swimming recently issued a press release describing work on the aquatics portion of the London project, which SwimInfo believes you will find very interesting. Dave Richards, British Swimming Media Manager, provides the following:
British Swimming believes London 2012's winning aquatics centre design will put the city on the world map in terms of facilities while reinvigorating the interest of the capital in aquatic sports.
Chief Executive David Sparkes greeted today's unveiling of the winning design with great enthusiasm and described it as an "exciting" project.
"British Swimming welcomes this design for the new pool in the heart of our capital city," said Sparkes. "It's an extremely exciting design and we believe it will be one of the world's leading pools when built."
Zaha Hadid, winner of the highly coveted Pritzker Architects Prize 2004, will design London's Olympic Aquatics Centre destined for the Lower Lea Valley area.
The design, which will form part of London's Olympic Park for a 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, has a spectacular, sinuous S-shaped, roof inspired by the flow of water, that is certain to make it a London landmark.
"The architect is world renowned but this will actually be her first major building in Great Britain," said Sparkes.
"Hadid is respected around the globe and together with swimming pool architects S & P, which built the 50m facility in Dublin, and engineering experts Ove Arup and Partners we believe this is a fantastic combination.
"British Swimming and the ASA will be working closely with the team to help ensure the facility delivers the exact needs for the Olympic Games, British Swimming and the wider London community.
"We believe the building of this pool will put London on the world map and open up massive opportunities for the sport within the community while reinvigorating London's interest in swimming."
The aquatics centre design includes two 50m competition pools and a competition diving pool. It also has 20,000 spectator seats and all the 'back of house' facilities required for an Olympic Games.
The design will especially appeal to swimmers during the Olympic Games because each pool has an arena around it for spectators which will create a unique atmosphere.
After the Games, the centre design can be converted, with the pools dividing into different spaces, making it easy for community and elite swimmers of different abilities to use.
The centre will also have an extensive health and fitness area to contribute to the long-term viability of the building.
Zaha Hadid is the Laureate for the Pritzker Architects Prize 2004.
British Swimming is the National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Open Water in Great Britain. It is responsible internationally for the high performance representation of the sport. The members of British Swimming are the three Home Countries national governing bodies of England (Amateur Swimming Association), Scotland (Scottish Amateur Swimming Association) and Wales. (Welsh Amateur Swimming Association) British Swimming seeks to enable its athletes to achieve gold medal success at the Olympics, Paralympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.