‘A distinct buzz of excitement hits you, like you’re part of the show’ — Parklife reporter Freddy Mayhew takes a dip in the London Aquatics Centre

17:21 11 March 2014

Freddy Mayhew in the pool.

Freddy Mayhew in the pool.


The first thing that hits you is the heat.

Freddy Mayhew in the pool.Freddy Mayhew in the pool.

It’s 28C in the London Aquatic’s Centre. Simply put, that’s certainly too hot for clothes.

But the temperature is only a brief distraction from the size and functional beauty of Zaha Hadid’s elegant structure.

It is so well designed – the huge windows allowing light to stream in over the spectators’ seats and onto the vast 50m competition pool and diving boards – that you wonder why all pools aren’t built this way.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get a ticket for any of the swimming events in the lottery — neither was the centre’s architect, she revealed — and I could hardly imagine what it was like during the Games, it seems so purposeful and complete now.

In the vast changing rooms, everything is sleek and new. Emerging from them onto the poolside, a distinct buzz of excitement kicks in, as though you’re part of the spectacle.

I think of the famed Olympian-sized footsteps I’m following in as I pad my way to the main pool.

Then I catch sight of one of them, Team GB’s Tom Daley, as he trains over at the diving pool.

His athletic body is enough to make me quickly slip into the water to hide my own lumbering frame.

Do I try to I pretend to be Michael Phelps and power my way to the end? Of course not. I gently breaststroke and take it all in.

• Read more on the latest news from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park fortnightly in the Newham Recorder


Latest News Stories

Man charged with Bow Creek murder

A man has appeared in court today charged with the murder of a homeless rough sleeper in east London whose body was discovered in the Bow Creek.

London City Airport

Attempts to expand London City Airport are continuing, with plans unveiled to take it into the water.

Boris Johnson
Saulius Urbanavicius, 24, has been charged with murder

A 24-year-old man will appear in court today charged with murder after a body was found in Canning Town.

Canning Town
Junior doctors at a rally in central London last month

Junior doctors will not strike today after the British Medical Association (BMA) reached an agreement with the Government to resume negotiations.


Most read news


Section Boys, Big Tipper, Big Narstie, Lady Leshurr, Trapstar, and UFest street team members

We’ve got 10 pairs of tickets to give away to watch some of the country’s best and brightest urban music talent at UFest, London’s official youth festival.

Read more
Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

Read more
MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

Digital Edition

Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder