Hundreds of pupils from schools across Manchester will be the first to use a swimming pool specially built in the MEN Arena for world champions.
They will take to the water on Friday (4/3/08) to participate in the Manchester Primary Schools Grand Swimming Finals.
Five days later, the same pool will be used by the world's top swimmers competing in the 9th FINA World Swimming Championships 2008 (25m) from 9 to 13 April.
The school swimming finalists will be roared on by a mighty crowd of 1800 spectators made up of competing swimmers' families and friends.
The 264 swimmers have qualified for the finals from nearly 1000 pupils who competed in nine District School Swimming galas across the city in the autumn term last year.
The qualifiers from the district galas were invited to attend training sessions across the city to help the Grand Finalists improve their stroke technique and aquatic fitness. They also learned how exercise and in particular swimming and other aquatic activities can play a vital role in promoting a healthy lifestyle.
The training sessions were:
- Weekly After School Swimming Clubs hosted at all nine community swimming pools around the city between January to Easter this year.
- Three Area Swim Camps hosted in the North, Central and South areas of the city during the February half term break.
- Nine Community Swim Camps hosted during the Easter school holidays at all community swimming pools across Manchester.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, deputy executive member for Arts and Leisure for Manchester City Council, said: "The Council's city-wide programme of swimming development provides opportunities for all to swim, teach and officiate in their chosen sport.
"Swimming events encourage children to use swimming and sports facilities, and ideally join one of the community swimming clubs based at the community swimming pools. Children also have the opportunity to join the swimming and water polo training programmes based at the Manchester Aquatic Centre.
"I'm really pleased that the children will have the chance to use the pool built for the world championships is such a fantastic venue. I'm sure they'll have a great time.
"After the great success of the track cycling world championships at the Velodrome, everyone is looking forward to the swimming championship as the second of six thrilling sporting events taking place in Manchester as part of our Manchester World Sport 08 programme."
For further information on Swimming Programmes in Manchester, contact Darren Ashton on 0161 232 3100.
Martin Hellewell, tel 0161 234 3729