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London 2012 Aquatics Centre opens

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The London Aquatics Centre, which was home to high drama in the London 2012 Olympics, opened its doors to the public on Saturday (1 March).

For the same price as a dip at a local pool, people will be able to swim in the Zaha Hadid-designed centre, where Tom Daley and Ellie Simmonds won medals for TeamGB. They may even spot Daley in training, since he is now be based there.

“The venue has been converted into a sport and leisure facility for the whole community, hosting arguably the best aquatic facility in the world,” says deputy managing director of GLL, Peter Bundey. “With access available to local and London swimming clubs, it will be a unique training venue for our stars of the future.”

The centre includes two 50m pools, the competition pool used for lane and fitness swimming, plus a training pool for family and fun sessions.

With a 25m diving pool, platforms of up to 10m, as well as a dry diving zone, with a trampoline, harness and foam pit, for divers to practise their technique, this will become the home of high performance diving in the UK.

Other facilities include a gym, café and creche. Much of the temporary seating has been replaced by 2,800sq m of glass and doors to allow natural light into the venue.

National and international competitions will be hosted at the venue, but the first big event will be a swimathon for Sport Relief at the end of March.

GLL will be charging £3.50 for pay as you go swimming sessions, or £29.50 a month for membership. Alternatively, people can pay £45 to use all the facilities at the Aquatics Centre and the Copper Box Arena, another former Olympic venue.

Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, says: “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 the third Olympic venue to re-open, following the Copper Box Arena and Lee Valley White Water Centre.

The Velodrome is reopening as a Lee Valley VeloPark on 31 March, followed by Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in May 2015. The Olympic Stadium is being transformed into a multi-use venue and will be the permanent home of West Ham from 2016.

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The London Aquatics Centre, which was home to high drama in the London 2012 Olympics, opened its doors to the public on Saturday (1 March).
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