LOCAL SCHOOLCHILDREN TEST THE WATER IN THE AQUATICS CENTRE

Around 300 young people from the Host Olympic Boroughs gave the Aquatics Centre a resounding thumbs-up on Sunday after they got the chance to swim in the iconic 2012 venue.

They took part in the annual Six Host Borough Swimming Championship, which was organised by the Olympic Park Legacy Company and Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to give local people the opportunity to use the main 50m pool before the Olympic athletes.

More than 1,000 spectators watched the swimmers, mainly aged between 9 and 18 years old, compete in different races including Freestyle Relay, Medley Relay, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle individual events and relays, along with disability events including 50m Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle.

They represented 13 different clubs from Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Barking & Dagenham, with Waltham Forest taking the Speedo 6 Host Borough Trophy, Greenwich coming second and Barking & Dagenham third.

The Championship, which was opened by Great Britain medal hopeful and world record holder for 50m Backstroke Liam Tancock, was a taste of what is to come in the Aquatics Centre after the Games when the Legacy Company will run the venue as an affordable and accessible community facility with the help of its operating partner GLL.

Around 90% of its use will be for local communities with the cost of swimming the Aquatics Centre the same as the average price to swim in a pool in the surrounding area.

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said:

“The Aquatics Centre will become a fantastic venue for the community after the Games and the Host Borough Swimming Championships was a taste of things to come. The atmosphere was electric and the excitement of the young swimmers was evident as soon as they entered the centre. We want all local children to experience this when the centre reopens after the Games.

“Legacy plans are further ahead than any previous host Olympic city. People will be able to enjoy a swim in this spectacular centre for the price of a local swim, and we are working on events programming with GLL to make the most of the world-class facility.”

Mark Sesnan, GLL Managing Director, said:

“This is the first of what we hope will be many opportunities for local people to use and enjoy the 2012 Olympic facilities. Not only is this a world-class venue designed to host international sport, it also aims to nurture sporting talent at grass roots level and encourage healthy living.

“As the legacy operator of the Aquatics Centre, GLL working with the Legacy Company is committed to increasing sports participation through events like this after this summer’s Olympic Games.”

David Sparks, Chief Executive of British Swimming, said:

“This event gave the local community their first taste of their new swimming facility and we are certain that this pool will stimulate more people to swim more often and inspire a young person to aspire to become an Olympic Champion in the future.”

The Championship also featured a performance by the Great Britain Junior Synchronised Swimming Team and closed with a routine by the Senior Team.

Last week, London bid to host the 2016 LEN European Swimming Championships at the Aquatics Centre. It is one of a number of events the Legacy Company is working on with British Swimming and other National Governing Bodies for Sport to ensure an ongoing programme of sporting events across all of its venues on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.