Olympic Dreams - Fulfilled
I've got various partial attempts at a 'Bucket List' of pools I need/want to swim in, as well as recommendations from friends strewn across Facebook messages, emails, tweets, bookmarked pages, Instagram posts, etc.. I began to pull some of those together this week, but the task got to be too daunting so I decided to narrow my focus: The Olympic Pool Bucket List.
Huge props and a shout-out to Jeff Commings from his time as a writer at Swimming World as his five-part 2012 series "Olympic Pools: Where Are They Now?" allowed me a one-stop reference guide to the Olympic Pools built since 1908. Taking a cue from Jeff's multi-part series, I'll split this into three posts and start on a positive note with this list of ...
Successful Swims in Hallowed Olympic Waters
1932 Los Angeles Olympics now the LA 84 Foundation / John C. Argue Swim Stadium
This might not quite qualify as this is a new pool on the same site / foundation as the original 1932 Olympic Pool, but it's my list, so I'm calling this a success. I managed to squeeze in a ~60 minute workout here back in the early part of 2014 after landing at LAX. They had the bulkhead setup at something like 27 meters, so I couldn't do a 'real workout,' but that didn't matter as I had the pool practically to myself and enjoyed the views of the Coliseum in the background.
1984 Los Angeles Olympics now the USC Uytsengu Aquatic Center
When I first swam here, back in a 1986 (I think) dual meet with USC, it was still known as the McDonald's Swim Center, but all the grandstands that had surrounded the pool during the Olympics were gone. I remember being quite shocked to walk onto the deck of what was basically just the tank. If memory serves me (which it doesn't always), we had to change in portable trailers that served as locker rooms. A lot has changed in the ensuing 30 years before I swam here again when I dropped my youngest daughter off for swim camp:
1996 Atlanta Olympics - now the Coach Herb McAuley Aquatic Center at Georgia Tech
Not only did I get to swim in this pool, I raced here in 2010 when US Masters Swimming held their National Short Course Yards Championships in late May. Candidly, I thought the pool was fine enough, but it didn't overly impress me. In addition, at least during that weekend of the meet, they had something funky going on with the filtration system that caused the bubbles to dissipate very slowly creating a few moments of nearly 'blind' swimming. Still, this pool does hold a special place in my swimming career as I won my first ever National Championships (albeit Masters) here: winning the 40-44 year old 500 freestyle.
When I was flying back from a business trip to India in late 2014, the economics and timing of my my connecting flights (Delhi to London, London to Phoenix) allowed for an overnight stay in London and a swim in both the Warmup / Training Pool and the Main Competition Pool from the London Olympics:
This almost became a 'near miss' for swimming in the actual competition pool as it was closed for a private swim-a-thon style event on the evening I arrived (which is why I swam in the warmup pool that night). Thankfully, I was able to be there the next morning when it opened and, not only did I get to swim long course, I had lane 4 and there were more lifeguards on deck than swimmers in the pool. It was one of the most magical swims I've ever had.
Next week's post will be a bit of a heartbreak list - the 'almost made it in' Olympic Pools!