The London Aquatics Centre

  • Sport and fitness
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© Katy Dillon
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© Anthony Charlton

Paralympian Liz Johnson lays the centre’s last tile

Olympic Park

The impressive Aquatics Centre, one of the 2012 Olympic Games’ iconic venues, is now open to the public. Located in the south-east of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, between the Stadium and Stratford City the pool is affordably priced for non-Olympians, although you may spot some famous faces: it’s Tom Daley’s new training ground.

Designed by starchitect Zaha Hadid, the building features a huge, wave-shaped roof – steel and glass on the outside, treated timber within – which rests on three concrete supports. The temporary 42m stands for Olympic spectators have been replaced with huge glass windows on either side, providing unexpected views of London landmarks including the Millennium Dome, Canary Wharf and, looming in the foreground, the Arcelormittal Orbit.

Inside there is a 50m-competition pool with seating for 2,500 on concrete terracing, a 25m diving pool, (with 1m, 3m, 5m, 7.5m and 10m platforms and 1m and 3m springboards) and, hidden underground, another 50m pool, used for warm-ups during the Olympics. The three pools can be split using movable floors and booms to create a further four swimming areas. Altogether they hold a massive 10 million litres of water and are lined with 180,000 tiles. The centre also features a dry-land dive-training area with a trampoline, springboards, foam pits and harnesses, and a 50-station state-of-the-art gym.

Venue name: The London Aquatics Centre
Contact:
Address: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
London
E20 2AQ
Transport: Stratford Tube/DLR/Overground
LiveReviews|1
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Joseph S

A year later than the TO review this OUTSTANDING pool has changed in only one respect: the south facing windows have been covered in a blue coating to minimize glare from sunlight. The bare windows were apparently making things difficult for lifeguards and competitive swimmers. Truth be told, it's a mixed blessing as the rays of sunshine cutting through gave the whole place a very exotic feel. Like being in a tropical house!

Changing rooms are expansive and regularly cleaned. However, I'd be more rigorous in terms of hygiene. Danish,and German pools I have visited are a good model. For example, people have to leave outdoor shoes in lockers outside the pool changing area and it is compulsory to thoroughly shower (naked) before entering the pool. Good graphics rather than wordy instructions are the key.

Showers are okay but not always functioning correctly in either the communal open area, or the rather tedious shower cubicles (open plan is better)for each sex.

Always check opening times and availability for the general public on the website. The pool is managed by 'Better'