Thursday, March 20, 2014

My #TBT = #ThrowbackTravels #2: Beijing 2009

Inside Beijing National Aquatic Center aka Water Cube in 2009

This picture was taken before (or maybe after?) jumping into the Olympic-sized pool inside the Beijing National Aquatic Center also known as the Water Cube; where the 2008 Summer Olympics swimming competitions took place. 25 world records were set here and Michael Phelps famously won 8 gold medals.

Okay, so the public was not allowed to swim in the actual pool where the competitions took place but we were allowed to swim in the warm-up pool which was almost just as big and awesome. To be able to swim in the pool, you had to pay a fee, make a photo ID and pass a lap test (3 full-length laps if I remember correctly).

The pool was awesome. I had never swam in an Olympic sized pool before but have been in plenty of crappy pools to know the difference. It felt super easy to swim in there and it is as if you were swimming in an open ocean. I wasn't imagining it. It is known to be one of the fastest pools in the world. Because of its record pool depth, the waves dissipate down to the bottom creating less disturbance to other swimmers and perforated walls on the side also absorb all the waves. It was the best swim of my life- in a pool. I think the best swim of my life was during our trip to Hawaii.

The Water Cube is now the venue for multiple shows and cultural events as well as home to a huge water park, complete with slides, spa, wave pool and more. I guess they needed a way to make money and selling souvenirs and charging for tours and pool memberships was not sustainable.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to swim in there just about a year after the 2008 Olympics and a year before it was teared down for renovations.

Thanks for reading!

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