- POSTED: 19 May 2014 10:26
- UPDATED: 20 May 2014 00:11
Swimming fraternity in Singapore calls the project's completion "an incredible moment for aquatics".
SINGAPORE: The OCBC Aquatic Centre has become the first facility at the new Singapore Sports Hub to be completed.
The 6,000-seat centre will cater to both athletes and the local community, and will also be home to the Singapore Swimming Association.
It includes two 50-metre pools for competition and training and a five-metre deep diving pool. The competition pool has a uniform depth of three metres, a first in Singapore.
Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong and other invited guests were among those to catch a first glimpse of the facility.
Mr Wong said this marks the start of a critical phase in its development.
He said: "It's not just about the completion of the construction, but it's about the transition from construction to commissioning and to operations -- getting ready for people to come, communicating, preparing the public.
"You really need a series of test events, to work out all the teething issues, because I'm sure there will be teething issues when you start to open up to the public."
The aquatic centre will play host to the Southeast Asian Swimming Championships from mid-June. The event will serve as a test for the the SportsHub facility as a whole, as well as for the aquatics competitions at next year's SEA Games.
The facility is fully sheltered, which means swimmers can train in all weather conditions. This could help strengthen the country's position as the leading swimming nation in Southeast Asia.
Stakeholders say that while the new complex is not as fancy as the Beijing Water Cube and the London Aquatics Centre, it represents maximum bang for the buck.
Jeffrey Leow, president of the Singapore Swimming Association, said: "Singapore has always managed to find a way to do good things with medium amount of money, and I'm sure we'll do it here.
"FINA already thinks we do very well with our facility at the Singapore Sports School. Wait till they see what we do with this facility."
National swimmer Russell Ong gave the new centre the thumbs-up, saying: "The pool feels very fast, the water is cold and the pool is deep, so it's actually very good."
The aquatic centre opens to the public next month.