Category Archives: Industry Mentions

London Olympics Shows Aquatics’ Global Appeal

Michael Phelps became the most successful Olympian of all time to cap a stunning opening few days of action in the pool at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The American won a record 19th Olympic medal as he helped the US team to gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

“I just started to smile with 25 metres to go,” Phelps said. “It was a cool feeling.”

It was a 15th Olympic gold medal for the 27-year-old, leading to ‘Phelps’ being one of the world’s top-five most popular search items on Twitter worldwide.

As Phelps became the most-decorated athlete in Olympic history, primetime coverage on US network NBC registered an audience of 38.7 million – the best United States viewing figures for any night of the Summer Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games in the US – securing outstanding exposure for swimming and aquatics in the world’s biggest sports market.

Phelps’ exploits were seen by millions worldwide, including US President Barack Obama, who sent a message to Phelps on Twitter that stated: “Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic medal record. You’ve made your country proud.”

The globalisation of aquatics has been demonstrated by the medals tally so far at London 2012, which has provided the perfect platform for aquatics to the widest possible audience.

By Thursday, with several days of competition left in the only two aquatic sports – swimming and diving – to have presented medals to that point, 16 countries had been represented on the podium.

By the close of the sixth day of competition at the Games, there had been aquatics medal-winners from Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Oceania, demonstrating the worldwide appeal of such sporting disciplines.

More countries will be hopeful of securing medals in the other sports that are governed by the International Aquatics Federation (FINA) and are yet to present medals – Water Polo, Synchronised Swimming and Open Water Swimming.

One of the most significant successes came on Monday when 15-year-old schoolgirl Ruta Meilutyte claimed Lithuania’s first ever swimming medal and became one of the youngest women to win an Olympic title by winning gold in the 100 metres breaststroke final.

Meilutyte’s victory sparked an outpouring of national pride in Lithuania, a Baltic country that is home to three million people and is still recovering from one of Europe’s deepest recessions.

“Thank you, Ruta, for allowing us to be proud to be Lithuanians, to allow us to forget all crisis and other hardships,” the television channel showing the Games in Meilutyte’s home country declared following her victory, which was watched in person at the Aquatics Centre by Lithuania’s President, Dalia Grybauskaite.

With several days of competition left, aquatic sports have already enjoyed a golden start to the London 2012 Olympics

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Ketchikan Alaska Opens Gateway Aquatic Center

A project years in the making, the new Gateway Aquatic Center held their Grand Opening on Saturday July 28th, 2012 to much affair.  Following the official ribbon cutting was the much anticipated “Big Splash,” where 100 lucky ticket winners simultaneously jumped into the pools, marking the official opening of the new $24 million dollar aquatic expansion to the existing Gateway Recreation Center.

With the city’s existing pool no longer meeting the town’s needs, Counsilman Hunsaker teamed with Architects Alaska, to design a showcase aquatic center intended to rejuvenate aquatics into the community.  The 35,000 square foot expansion features an eight lane Competition Pool and a large Multipurpose Pool, a 1-meter and a 3-meter diving board and a fully integrated timing system and scoreboard, a climbing wall, two water slides, a multiple level play structure, and a vortex.

Aquatic Supervisor Karen Taylor says “[the opening has been] really exciting, we’re maxing out our numbers every day.”  With much positive feedback, the borough staff is pleased with the project’s turnout.  “The kids are really liking it,” continues Taylor, “the adults, the teenagers, there’s something for everybody here.”

The water slides have especially been a huge hit by both kids and adults.  The yellow “Tongass Tower” is an open flume slide spilling into the Multipurpose Pool, while the blue “Drop Slide” ejecting the rider four feet over the water, shooting you into the Competition Pool’s.

Starting August 6th, the Ketchikan High School’s King Salmon swim team will begin training at the new facility.  If you are in town August 24th, be sure to cheer on the Kings as they host their inaugural swim meet against Metlakatla, Petersburg and Thunder Mountain.

Go Kings!!!!

Gateway Aquatic Center

601 Schoenbar Road

Ketchikan, Alaska 99901

PlayCore Acquires Colorado Time Systems

Two big players in the aquatic industry are now one.  PlayCore Holdings, Inc. a designer, manufacturer, and marketer of a broad range of play and recreation products, announced its acquisition  of  Colorado Time Systems.  Anita Sayed will continue to be responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations as well as its future growth and expansion. Operations will continue from Colorado Time Systems’ manufacturing facility in Loveland, CO.  Congradulations to the PlayCore and Colorado Time Systems teams.

Press Release

University of Tennessee Hosts U.S. Olympic Team

The Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center at the University of Tennessee is currently hosting the 2012 U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Swimming Teams for a last-minute training camp as part of their final preparations for London later this month.  The aquatic design and engineering of the state-of-the-art facility was done by Counsilman-Hunsaker and opened up in 2008.  1,800 spectators were on hand along with 100 members of the media for their first practice.  While Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Missy Franklin typically receive the most attention, it was Knoxville-native Davis Tarwater who arguably received the warmest welcome from the local fans.

Swimming World reported that the Stars and Stripes held their first open practice on July 12, 2012 and sports fans lined up around the block to get a chance to see some of the world’s best swimmers.

London Olympics to showcase strength of aquatic sports

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu interview

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu believes the London 2012 Olympic Games will demonstrate to the sporting world the passion, talent, excitement and innovation of the burgeoning aquatics sector.

As one of the driving forces of the Olympic Movement, aquatics have unsurprisingly been amongst the hottest tickets at the Games. Swimming and diving competitions were among the very first sporting events to sell out, while such was the demand for synchronised swimming that London 2012 had to offer 10,000 ticket-holders an alternative sporting event.

Marculescu was taken aback by the level of public interest when he attended the Olympic test events at London’s new state-of-the-art 17,000-seat Aquatics Centre, and he expects more of the same when the Games get underway later this month.

“We are one of the pillars of the Olympic Games and in London it will be one of the best ever events,” Marculescu said.

“All 15 days of the competition have sold out for aquatic sports though, so we could do with double the number of seats in the Aquatics Centre!

“At the test events the enthusiasm from the public was fantastic. I have been in my position for seven editions of the Olympics, and I can honestly say the enthusiasm for the London Games is special. We are delighted to be a part of that by bringing as usual an additional value to the Games.”

Marculescu is relishing the prospect of the pool’s top competitors shining at the iconic Aquatics Centre, which at a height of 150ft is one of most striking new sporting venues on the London skyline.

“The most important thing is to have stars, and the interest is there because of them,” he said. “In London I’m sure the starts of swimming likes of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and others will excite the crowds, and then of course in diving you have guys like Tom Daley, who are fantastic.

“Interest in the aquatics events at the Olympics, and the FINA World Championships, is definitely increasing, and we are getting stronger around the world.”

Next year’s FINA World Championships will take place in the 1992 Summer Olympics host city of Barcelona in Spain, and the 2015 Championships will be staged in Kazan, Russia.

Marculescu, and FINA, are working towards an initiative to engage the wider public in an innovative new way at the Kazan event in three years’ time.

“We are looking to enlarge the FINA World Championships by including the FINA World Masters Championships, such as mass participation event,” he said. “In Kazan, it would be great to have all together more than 12,000 – 13,000 participants participating in all five FINA aquatic disciplines. Such change in dimension of the FINA major event would for sure bring an important economic impact to the host city and promote our sport even further.”