The London Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was at the centre of the excitement during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and now is a vibrant and accessible facility open to the whole community.
Following its transformation after the Games, it has undergone an extensive transformation and reopened to the general public on 1 March 2014. This world class venue houses two 50m Olympic sized pools, a 25m diving pool with boards and platforms up to 10m, dry diving zone, a state-of-the-art 50 station gym, a cafe and crèche.
The venue is open to everyone and hosts a variety of activities including fitness and family swim sessions, brand new inflatable fun sessions not seen before in this country, swimming and diving lessons, as well as inclusive community sessions. It also hosts a range of national and international sporting events.
The London Aquatics Centre was originally designed by world-renowned, award winning architect Zaha Hadid in 2004.
The concept of the centre was inspired by moving water, creating a space to mirror the surrounding riverside landscapes of the Olympic Park. As the centre was designed before the Olympic bid was complete, the spectator wings seen at the Olympic Games were not part of the original design. They were later temporarily added to fit an audience of 17,500 spectators.
Seating capacity of the venue now stands at 2,800, with an additional 1,000 seats available for major events. Since the Games, works have completed outside of the venue, removing the temporary seating stands and installing glass and doors along the sides of the centre.
In total an impressive 628 panes of glass and 8 external doors have all been installed in the London Aquatics Centre, allowing lots of natural light into the pool. Inside, the venue has been converted into a sport and leisure facility for the whole community.
A brand new reception, changing areas will welcome up to 800,000 visitors a year who will come to experience the venue. Two giant videoboards and a brand new timing system will record times of aspiring athletes.
The starting blocks, touchpads and lane ropes in the venue today are the actual ones used during the 2012 Games a real legacy for London.
London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Highlights
The London Aquatics Centre was one of the main venues of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, where it was used for swimming, diving and synchronised swimming.
Highlights from the venue, which featured 32 events, saw the United States claim a total of 31 medals.
Team GB’s Michael Jamieson won a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke and Rebecca Adlington won two bronze medals for Great Britain in the 400m and 800m freestyle swimming. Tom Daley, who now has his training base at the facility, took a bronze medal for diving on the 10m platform.
During the Paralympics, Ellie Symmonds, OBE won two gold medals at the London Aquatics Centre, including setting a World Record in the 400m freestyle.
Michael Phelps emerged as the most decorated Olympian of all time, after winning six medals as well as ending his Olympic career at the London Aquatics Centre. China claimed an unexpected second-place with 10 medals, and France ended with the third spot with a total of seven medals.
- Both pools have moveable floors which can be moved to change the depth and there are also moveable booms that allow its size to be changed
- The wave-like roof is stated to be 11,200 square feet (1,040 m2)
- The three pools hold around 10 million litres (2.6 million gallons) of water
- Four skeletons were discovered and removed from a prehistoric settlement discovered on the site of the London Aquatics Centre
- The river that runs alongside the venue has been widened by eight meter by building 550m of new river walls.
- The 50m pool is 3 metres deep, like in one at the Beijing National Aquatics Center, in order to be fast
- Olympic swimming events were commonly held in open water, such as rivers or lakes, until the 1908 London Olympics when the event moved to pools.
The 2012 London Olympic Games marked the return of the open-water swim event to the Olympic schedule
London Aquatic Centre Timeline
2004: The London Aquatics Centre is designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid before London wins the bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics
2005: In Singapore, the IOC award London the right to host the Games
2006: Revised architectural plans are unveiled by Zaha Hadid, allowing capacity for 17,500 spectators
2008: Construction contract awarded to Balfour Beatty in April and buildings works begin
2011: Construction of the London Aquatics Centre is complete
2012: The London Aquatics Centre plays host to the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games
2012: Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) awarded the contract by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to operate the London Aquatics Centre and the Copper Box Arena for the next 10 years.
2013: The two temporary "wings" are removed, reducing the capacity to a regular 2,500 with an additional 1,000 seats available for major events
2013 Legacy fit out and mobilisation begins including the recruitment of 50 local people to work at the venue.
2013 London Aquatics Centre awarded the rights to host the FINA World Diving Series (April 2014) and the European Swimming Championships 2016.
2014: The London Aquatics Centre is reopened and accessible to everyone for swimming, diving and International and community events