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Top Stadium Pools To Race At In Australia

6 May 2020

 Top Stadium Pools

Funky Trunks and Funkita swimmers have graced the decks of many pools around Australia, and as pools sit quietly waiting for the lifting of restrictions, we thought we'd take a tour of the main stadiums in every state. Whether you've been training at your local for years or have had the pleasure of swimming at one of the bigger stadiums, there's nothing like that feeling of getting back into the pool and pushing off the wall for the first time. In no particular order, we have listed some of the main competition pools around Australia that are waiting for your return. How many have you swum at? Which ones have you got left to race at?

Brisbane Aquatic Centre (Chandler)

 Brisbane Aquatic Centre

Year built: 1982

Seating capacity: 4,300

Historic events: 1982 Commonwealth Games & 2001 Goodwill Games

The Brisbane Aquatic Centre is Brisbane's world-class indoor swimming centre. Part of the Sleeman Sports Complex, the Aquatic Centre consists of four main swimming pools: a 50m indoor Olympic pool, a 50m outdoor Olympic pool, a 25m diving pool and a 25m lap pool. The Centre has grandstand seating for 4,300 spectators in two tiers on either side of the indoor pool.

Sydney Olympic Park

 Sydney Olympic Park

Year built: 1994

Seating capacity: 10,000 - 17,000 during 2000 Olympics

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre was the venue of swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming competition during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and today continues to host international, national, state and community competitions. Opened in 1994, the centre has also hosted several legs of the swimming and diving World Cups as well as the 1999 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.

The centre has seating for 10,000 spectators on either side of the main pool. When it first opened, it had an equal amount of seating on either side of the pool, totalling 4,500 seats. For the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the seating on one side of the pool was increased dramatically to boost the total capacity to around 17,000. Following the Olympics, this side was reduced by about half to bring the total capacity back around the 10,000 mark.

South Australia Aquatic & Leisure Centre

South Australia Aquatic & Leisure Centre

Year built: 2011

Seating capacity: 3,460

Historic event: 2019 National Swimming Championships

Australia's most recent addition. The South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre, also known as the State Aquatic Centre, is a swimming venue located in the Adelaide suburb of Oaklands Park in South Australia. The 2016 Australian Olympic Trials and 2016 Swimming Australia National Age Championships were hosted at the centre alongside National Water Polo League games and the 2016 Diving SA Olympic Simulation event.

The SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre was due to host the 2019 National Swimming Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Trials, but due to COVID-19 has been postponed.

Doone Kennedy Aquatic Centre, Hobart

Doone Kennedy Aquatic Centre

Year built: 1996

Seating capacity: 1,000

Historic events: 2001 National Swimming Championships

The Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre is a major million-dollar aquatic sporting facility located less than 1km from the CBD. Previously known as "Tattersalls" Aquatic Centre. The venue has hosted the Australian Swimming Championships, the Tasmanian Swimming Championships, FINA Swimming World Cup, Pan Pacific Games and the Qantas Skins. Other major events held at the venue throughout its first seven years of operation include the Australian Canoe Polo Championships and Australian Diving Championships.

Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre

 Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre

Year built: 1997

Seating capacity: 3,000

Historic event: Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games

The Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre is an international sporting venue located in Albert Park, Victoria, Australia. The centre was opened on 24 July 1997 at a construction cost of AU$65 million. The centre has several swimming pools and international standard diving facilities. There is a large multi-purpose sports hall used for sports such as badminton, basketball, table tennis and volleyball, and also squash courts and a gym.

HBF Stadium, Perth Superdome

 HBF Stadium

The Perth Superdome complex in Perth is home to the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS). The complex was opened in 1986. Facilities include an Olympic-standard aquatic centre with five pools, a diving tower, gymnasium, two arenas, and several basketball courts, as well as a museum.

The main indoor arena has seating for 4,500 spectators, or for over 5,000 people including standing room. Regular exhibitions and expos are hosted at the venue, as well as national and international sporting events.

Gold Coast Aquatic Centre

 Gold Coast Aquatic Centre

Year built: 1960's

Seating capacity: 3,000. (10,000 at 2018 Commonwealth Games)

Historic events: 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships & 2018 Commonwealth Games

The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre was fully redeveloped in time for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, during which time it was known as the Optus Aquatic Centre. The Centre has six pools, including a new 50m 10-lane competition pool, a full suite of diving facilities and a dry dive training pit and fully equipped fitness centre,

The 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships were held at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre and were headlined by all-time record holder for Olympic gold medals Michael Phelps who won three gold medals.

For the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre had temporary grandstands to boost the seating capacity from 1,000 to 10,000.

Now if you're a bit of a history buff, take a look at these international level pools from a previous era...

Melbourne City Baths

Melbourne City Baths

Year built: 1860

Historic events: Melbourne Olympic Games 1956

Now a haven of health and wellness in the midst of the frantic CBD, it's hard to believe that Melbourne City Baths' opening in 1860 was born out of necessity rather than luxury. Back then bathrooms in private homes were considered an opulent extra for the super rich only. Established to prevent Melbournians from bathing in the polluted Yarra River at a time when the typhoid epidemic was sweeping the city, the unique design of the building and significance for Victorians means the location is now considered a historical icon by locals and tourists alike.

Providing fitness facilities to Melbournians for the past 155 years, the modern visitor experience is a far cry from humble beginnings. A leading health and wellness centre, today visitors can avail of innovative fitness programs and modern equipment. The Baths now house a swimming pool, spa, sauna, squash courts and a gymnasium. These days men and women roam freely through the building but until 1947 when mixed bathing was introduced, there were gender specific street entrances, not to mention facilities.

As well as the introduction of mixed bathing, the popularity of the venue increased greatly with the success of Australian swimmers in the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. At this time attendance rose to over 300,000 visitors per year. It's reported that the first year the baths opened 79,096 men and 2,950 women frequented the building. The baths had actually been considered as a possible venue for Olympic swimming events but it was disregarded due to the condition of the facilities at that time.

North Sydney Pool

North Sydney Pool

Year built: 1936

Historic events: Commonwealth Games 1938

The North Sydney Pool is an iconic Australian landmark with a rich history that is synonymous with Australia?s love of swimming. Positioned next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the pool offers quintessential views of the Sydney Harbour making it an ideal swimming destination for international travellers and locals alike.

The pool was officially opened on 4 April 1936 and has hosted the royalty of Australian swimmers over the years. The pool has witnessed 86 world records, more than any other pool in the world, including those broken by John and Ilsa Konrads, Lorraine Crapp, Frank O?Neill, Judy Joy Davies, John Devitt and Shane Gould. The last to be broken was in 1978 at the NSW State Championships by Michelle Ford for the 800m freestyle in a time of 8:31.30. Two years later, she went on to win the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. When it was built, the pool utilised advanced technical innovations for the era and its state-of-the-art facilities earned it the nickname "Wonder Pool". The pool used filtered sea water from the harbour, which it still uses today to avoid harsher pool chemicals. It makes for a refreshing swim in the beautiful blue water - though swimmers have to get used to the salty taste. Not everyone was happy with the salt water however.

In 1938 the pool hosted the Empire Games (now the Commonwealth Games) and was forced to drain the pool of the sea water and replace it with freshwater supplied by multiple fire trucks prior to the competition. Currently, the North Sydney Council is undertaking a master plan for the pool to ensure that the facility maintains its rich heritage for future generations, and remains a leading aquatic facility for people from all over the world to visit and admire before diving in for a swim.

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