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Aquatics Centre celebrates second birthday

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 March 2016

Helen and Liam McShane with their children Cormac McShane 10 months (left) and Evelyn McShane, 4, from Hackney

Helen and Liam McShane with their children Cormac McShane 10 months (left) and Evelyn McShane, 4, from Hackney

Archant

The Aquatics Centre has celebrated its second birthday with a special pool party

Elizabeth Appiah-Kusi and husband Charles with children Kofi Appiah-Kusi, 16 months (left), and Rupert Appiah-Kusi, three-and-a-half (right), all from Royal Victoria DockElizabeth Appiah-Kusi and husband Charles with children Kofi Appiah-Kusi, 16 months (left), and Rupert Appiah-Kusi, three-and-a-half (right), all from Royal Victoria Dock

The former Olympic venue has already hosted the FINA Diving World Series twice, the British Swimming Championships, the Invictus Games and BBC Sport Relief since opening to the public in March 2014.

Some of the biggest names in swimming and diving will return to the pools in May when the European Aquatics Championships returns to the UK for the first time in 23 years.

The centre is also the home of diving sensation Tom Daley and his diving academy.

But it isn’t just a professional venue.

London Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, E20 2ZQ - Sport Relief Pool Party and Sport Relief Road to Rio challenge.

Dave Page and Daisy Dowden from Shepherds Bush with Daisy's niece Jessica Dowden 6 and nephew Toby Dowden 4 from Bow, cycling for the Sport Relief Road to Rio challenge.London Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, E20 2ZQ - Sport Relief Pool Party and Sport Relief Road to Rio challenge. Dave Page and Daisy Dowden from Shepherds Bush with Daisy's niece Jessica Dowden 6 and nephew Toby Dowden 4 from Bow, cycling for the Sport Relief Road to Rio challenge.

The centre has been used by 1.7million visitors in its first two years and Gregg Holland insists it’s the blend of the two different worlds that makes the venue so unique.

“There hasn’t been one main success as there have been so many, but the highlight for me has been the ability to provide thousands of adults and children in the local community the opportunity to access an iconic, international sporting facility like nowhere else in the world,” he said.

“One of the most inspiring things about the London Aquatics Centre is that the public are swimming and diving alongside elite athletes.

“To provide an Olympian, such as Tom Daley and Aimee Willmott, with a world-class venue to train and compete in is a daily inspiration for young children to aspire to be the next Olympic champions.”

More than 17,500 people visit the centre each week and there are now more than 3,600 children and adults learning to swim each week through the Swim School programme. In total, more than 50 different schools have used the facility for their school swimming lessons while nearly 600 pupils are learning to dive as part of the Tom Daley Diving Academy

And to celebrate the community involvement over the past two years, people of all ages enjoyed some fun in the pool and in the gym on Sunday, March 6.

John Mweshi, 46, from Forest Gate, has taken his two sons – Adam, 11, and Malik, 8 – along for swimming lessons since it opened and is delighted to have the venue practically on his doorstep.

“As a Newham resident, I think the London Aquatics Centre is a fantastic and useful facility,” he said.

“Everyone was excited after London 2012, I was a Games Maker too, and, for me, the Games were about getting communities together.

“This venue definitely helps inspire my children to learn to swim. It’s not only about swimming but being inspired by the beautiful building, which is attracting everyone.”


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