February 25 - The newly adapted London Aquatics Centre will open its doors to the public this week, giving people the chance to swim in the same pool as the stars of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Designed in 2004 by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid - who is also building stadiums in Tokyo and Qatar for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and 2022 FIFA World Cup respectively - the London Aquatics Centre was one of the most recognisable venues of London 2012, hosting swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and modern pentathlon.
Eighteen months on and the Centre has been adapted to allow residents from all corners to take a dip in the same pool as those athletes from the 2012 Games.
The temporary seating stands, which sat 17,500 spectators, have been removed and replaced with 2,800 square metres of glass allowing for more natural light and a view across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The 50 metres competition pool will be open for public lane swimming, with the training pool next door accommodating family and fun sessions, swimming lessons and the new Aqua Splash inflatables.
The 25m diving pool, home to Great Britain's Tom Daley, will also be available for coaching, teaching and instructed courses.
Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, the organisation responsible for the regeneration legacy of the London 2012 Games, said: "This is an exciting moment in the legacy of the Games.
"The iconic Aquatics Centre with its unique design will now be open for the public to enjoy.
"We promised the former Olympic and Paralympic venues would have long-term legacy use and we have delivered.
"Local communities and visitors alike can come and swim in this amazing new venue.
"This is another part of our plan to create a new heart of the city with world class sporting venues open to the community as well as new homes and jobs."
The Centre, which is due to officially open its doors on Saturday (March 1), will be operated by the charitable social enterprise, Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL).
GLL overseas the management of more than 100 public leisure centres across the UK and has worked with the LLDC on the operation of both the Aquatics Centre and Copper Box, which was opened in July last year.
Peter Bundey, deputy managing director of GLL, was at the Aquatics Centre today and said: "As a charitable social enterprise, GLL are proud to be operating the London Aquatics Centre.
"The venue is now ready to become one of the best aquatics facilities in the world.
"It will be a place of fun and fitness, as well as competitive swimming.
"Activities on offer will range from learning to swim or dive and family fun sessions to a world class competitive venue."
In addition to community swimming, the Aquatics Centre will also play host to a number of national and international events, including a leg of the International Swimming Federation's (FINA) World Diving Series in April, and the 2016 European Swimming Championships.
It is also the new home of British Diving.
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