LONG BEACH, Calif, December 4. MICHAEL Phelps will be in the parking lot where the temporary pools will be built for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials (adjacent to the Long Beach Arena) and will be available for photo opportunities on Monday, December 8th from 9:45am to 10:15 am.
For the first time in U.S. Olympic Team Trials Swimming history, swimmers will compete for Olympic berths in an above-ground pool. Italy-based Myrtha Pools will construct two 50-meter Olympic-sized pools in the parking lot adjacent to the Long Beach Arena that will host the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming and the Toyota Grand Prix of Aquatics.
The dimensions and scope of this facility are beyond any temporary facility of its kind. The deck of both pools will be 9 feet above the ground and bleachers will start at that level, giving spectators an unparalleled view of not only some of the world’s best swimmers, but of the Queen Mary and the Long Beach skyline. More than 150 panels and 10,000 pieces of hardware, which will be shipped to the event site from Italy, will be used to combine the two 50-meter pools and surrounding stadium. The construction will begin on May 4, 2002, with construction crews, plumbers, and welders working daily to have the pools assembled in the Long Beach Arena parking lot a month later, on June 4th, 2004.
“We are pleased to have our event make history and to be a part of such an innovative concept,” said Rich Foster, President of the Long Beach Sports Council. “Not only will the world’s greatest swimmers get to experience such a unique venue, but so will spectators, who will get to see these great athletes from a unique vantage point.”
At the conclusion of the Toyota Grand Prix of Aquatics, the pools will be disassembled and each will be shipped separately to two different locations where they will be reassembled and used as permanent structures. The city of Yucaipa, in Southern California and the Berkeley Aquatic Club in New Jersey have each purchased one of the pools. The Berkeley Aquatic Club will place the pool in a brand new indoor facility. Their goal is to combine all of their training, which is currently spread to three different locations, in one facility.