Live In London: Day 6 - Olympic Park swimming spectacular
blog by Victoria Mintz • August 02, 2012 @ 10:05pm
Big day for me in London—let me just say Day Six definitely did not disappoint! After yet another early morning and hectic afternoon, my family and I journeyed all over the city and took London by storm.
6 a.m.: Very early morning for my sister, Natalie, and me. Unfortunately, after only being able to purchase two tickets for the swimming events this morning—it’s Thursday, by the way—due to the high traffic on the London website last night, we were the only ones able to go watch the preliminary events at the Aquatic Center…though I have to admit, I’m extremely happy I was one of two going in to watch swimming!
Overall, the process to get into London for the 10 a.m. swimming event was definitely not an easy feat. We were awake before 6 a.m., had to drive to the train station located 20 minutes away for our 7:30 a.m. train, and then traveled for over an hour into London to catch the new Olympic Javelin Train specially created for the Games. This high-speed train, dedicated solely to delivering spectators from St.Pancras station to the Olympic Park in Stratford, completed the journey in less than seven minutes, which gave us less than an hour to pick up our tickets, get through security and head to the Aquatic Center within the park. To say it was a challenge would be an understatement.
9:30 a.m.: We ran from the Javelin Train station to the ticket booth right outside the Olympic Park—keep in mind you can’t get into the park without either a.) an event ticket from an event located within the park (only certain events are actually located inside the Olympic Park, which confuses a lot of people) or b.) buying an official Olympic Park ticket, which can only be found online and are solely used for touring around the park (estimated at $20 per person and does not allow you access to any other events).
9:40 a.m.: Picked up the tickets, ran to line up for security which was much longer than the security line to get into the beach volleyball games at Horse Guards Parade. Took us about 12 minutes to get through, which, of course was just like the beach volleyball setup—checking our belongings and going through the security clearance. Finally, we had made it through and had a little over 10 minutes to spare to get inside the Aquatic Center and watch the races!
9:50 a.m.: Ran through the Olympic Park to the pool located just to the left of the entrance (fortunate for us) and made our way to our seats. Felt like I was on the Amazing Race with the amount of running that we were doing. Upon entering the pool complex, the next challenge was climbing the 10 levels of stairs that led us to the spectator stands—was about to die during this part, ha ha—and, taking the stairs two by two, my sister and I made it to our seats in record time! With less than five minutes to spare we were in our seats—moose hats in hand and ready to go!
10:00 a.m.: The races begin! The swimming events included men’s 50-meter freestyle, women’s 800-meter freestyle, men’s 100-meter fly and women’s 200-meter backstroke. The events were incredible, highlighting the top swimmers from all over the world. My favorites were naturally the Canadian swimmers and, of course, as well as MICHAEL PHELPS! Ah, what a sight—it was amazing being able to actually watch one of his races. He’s such a powerhouse.
The Aquatic Center was also incredibly breathtaking, housing a large 50-meter pool as well as a dive tank just off the end. The setup and view were absolutely amazing. Of course, the pool is one of the most important venues to me because of my synchro roots, but to actually see the complex in person is completely different than watching it on television. The size of the swimming complex is remarkable, especially the amount of people it houses, and the atmosphere was unbelievable—people cheering nonstop—we actually had to be hushed a few times so that the competitors could hear the whistle blow. All in all, it was a great event to attend, and I can’t wait to return next week for the synchro competitions.
Side Note:The one complaint about the layout of the building is that the roof—designed to represent the underbelly’of a whale—is actually sunken too low so that the spectators located in the 400 section of the stands can’t view the diving events. They had to reimburse the tickets because it was physically impossible to watch!
P.S.: KEEP POSTED FOR PHELPS 100-METER RACE VIDEO!
Victoria Mintz is a Canadian student at Canisius College in Buffalo and is serving as Buffalo.com’s eyes and ears at the Olympic Games in London.