by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)
Created June 25th, 2012 05:58:09 PM
Modified June 25th, 2012 06:42:39 PM
The pool is everything that I had imagined. Since the pools (warm-up/warm-down and comp pool) are built above ground, there are steps and ramps to access them. Each time we arrive and walk onto the pool the deck, the feeling is pretty surreal, it doesn't get old. (I posted a short video on FB of my first time walking on the pool deck). The atmosphere is very big-time, a sort of organized chaos. There are a ton of people here. Despite the number of athletes, warm-up and warm down is crowded but manageable.
There are TVs everywhere so you always know what is going on in the competition pool. There is also one huge wall TV by the warm-up/warm-down pool so you can watch the action too. There is a large athlete lounge with couches, huge bean bag chairs, TVs, and a food area where we get our favorite things...FREE FOOD. The CenturyLink center is used for all kinds of events. So for the spectators there are concession stands and food stands with TVs in them much like if you were there watching a baseball game or football game at an indoor arena.
For the swimmers, there is a ready room area where the athletes get seated according to their heat. The room held 4 heats at a time. Only one heat was allowed behind the blocks at once. When the heat before was on their last 100, the next heat would be marched out and the heat after them would be seated in chairs off to the side until it was time for them to walk out. When your heat is next, you walk single file in order by what lane you're racing in. There is a basket waiting for you to put your stuff in and within a minute or so, your heat is being called up on the blocks. While a heat is in the water, young volunteers march out as if they are in the military, grab the baskets with athletes' belongings in them...another group of young volunteers are equipped with white towels and they wipe the starting blocks down so they are not slick for the next swimmer...and take them down behind the scenes when you pick up your stuff after your race. Along the way to pick your belongings, there is a red-carpet like media area that is lit up with cameras and lights where the celebrity swimmers are/will be interviewed.