Thursday, July 03, 2008

take your mark

There are a lot more people in the stands at the Olympic swimming trials in Omaha than could possibly fit in the brand new Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center at UT, which is hosting the Olympic diving selection camp this week. It's because the Omaha event is being held at the Qwest Center, a building that normally hosts basketball games, hockey games and rock concerts.

The past few nights I've been watching the swimming events in HD on the USA Network while searching the Internet for information on how they got such a huge pool into the arena. First, they put up some yellow tape to give people an idea of where the temporary pool would go. It's technically an above-ground pool, sitting on top of twelve truckloads of sand. Then they brought in the walls in segments, added a vinyl liner and had the fire department spray in enough water to cover the bottom and stretch out the liner. The Omaha World-Herald created a full-page graphic to show the pool's features. Eight rows of seats had to be removed for the pool deck, which covers all the pipes for the filtration system. When the swimming trials are over, local firefighters will drain the pool as part of a training exercise.

The news that Lady Vol swimmer Christine Magnuson made the Olympic team in the 100m butterfly event was on all the local channels. Another Knoxville swimmer competed in the 200m individual medley. Jace Howanitz is the current Tennessee state high school champion in that event. Next year she will swim for Virginia Tech as an H2Okie. This year her time was 9.75 seconds behind the winner, which she will undoubtedly improve upon in 2012. I just wanted an excuse to type H2Okie.

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