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The Olympic swimming pool - London 2012

Built especially for the London 2012 Olympic games, the Aquatics Centre is home to the competition's 50m Olympic swimming pool, as well as the 25m diving pool, 50m warm-up pool and is the venue for all the swimming events aside from the 10k marathon swimming event, which will be held in the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park.

The Aquatics Centre is also the venue for the diving, paralympic swimming and synchronised swimming competitions, and for the aquatics leg of the modern pentathlon.

Designed by acclaimed Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, the venue began construction in 2008 and was completed in July 2011. With its distinctive wave-like roof - spanning 160m long and 80m wide - it serves as an eye-catching gateway to the Olympic Park.

In the wake of the games the centre will be used as a training facility for elite swimmers as well as by the local community, clubs and schools. The two temporary spectator wings will be removed after the games.

The Olympic swimming pool as it is today wasn't introduced to the modern Olympic Games until 1908. Until then, swimming events tended to be held in open water, such as the Paris games of 1900, when competitors had the daunting task of racing in the River Seine.

Olympic competition is divided into four strokes for races held over a variety of distances from 50m - the standard length of an Olympic swimming pool - up to 1500m.  Swimmers compete in freestyle (front crawl), breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly events, as well as in the individual medley and medley relay events.

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