For the first time since the 2012 London Olympics, the Olympic swimming pool in the London Aquatics Centre will be put to use. But this time, it won’t be Olympians competing; rather, 20 students on the swim team will be representing ASL at the 2014 ISSTs at this iconic venue, starting from March 6.
While ASL facilitated the process of gaining access to the pool, the 2014 Swimming ISSTs will still be technically hosted by ACS Cobham.
The students will be able to swim in a pool with more deck space, which will increase the space available for fan support and avoid the usual overcrowding. The larger size of the pool will allow for more teams to participate in the ISSTs than if the competition was held at ACS Cobham, which has a pool with two fewer lanes.
The once-in-a-lifetime chance to use the facility is thanks to the help of a parent whose friend was in charge of building the pool. ASL parent John Rittenhouse was given an interesting opportunity soon after it was built. “We were the first ones to jump into the water, before they put the lane lines in or anything else,” he said.
After his experience, as well as attending the 2012 London Olympics, Rittenhouse believed that the facility would be the perfect place to host the ISSTs.
The cost does not differ greatly, however. It is more of a trial from a managing point of view “It’s a logistics challenge for the athletic directors to get the kids out there,” Rittenhouse said.
Although Rittenhouse took the initiative to reach out to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), it will be Athletic Director Sandy Lloyd and Cobham’s Athletic Director Dave Schuchter who will be taking charge of the organization of the event.
Head Swim Team Coach Rod Anderson is looking forward to the experience. “It is a great venue made for international swimming… If you’re going to have it in London, you couldn’t have it in a better place,” Anderson said.
Swim team co-captain Eliza Moyle (’15) is anxious about the event. “It’s nerve-wracking I think at some point because the fact that we’d be the first ones in the Olympic Pool, having that sort of responsibility of opening it to the public and stuff is really cool,” Moyle said.
It will add more pressure to the students in the swim team as ASL only takes 20 out of the 45 to ISSTs. The team of 20 consists of five junior varsity boys, five junior varsity girls, five varsity girls and five varsity boys. “To make that top five for girls is going to be really tough…So it puts a lot of pressure on each of us,” added Moyle.
Swim team co-captain Omar Elmasry (’14) is honored about being able to have such an opportunity and wants to take advantage of this opportunity by aiming to have Student Council organize a pep-rally at the second day of ISSTs. “We’re going to try to have as many students to come as we can, because it will be the closest thing that we will ever have to a home swim meet,” he said.
The prestige of the venue is adding pressure to the swim team who are practicing hard in order to have a high profile meet. “We are aiming for first place, beating Cairo for the first time in 11 years, so that will be exciting,” Elmasry said.
Rittenhouse believes that the supporters’ anticipation and excitement as well as the fact that it is a “fast” pool will guarantee to create better times for the swimmers. He encourages all students to support their peers by attending the event. “After all this effort from everybody involved, the school kids have to come out and support it,” he said.