Amid Shortage In Pool Availability, RFEN Eyes Reviving Several Key Venues

by Tomas Rodriguez 0

January 24th, 2021 Europe, International, News

Resulting from a pool shortage for Madrid-based swimmers partly caused by the pandemic, the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN) is eyeing the revival of several key locations.

When the state of emergency was declared nationwide in March of last year for Spain and a subsequent three-month lockdown took effect due to the coronavirus pandemic, national-level athletes were obliged to abandon their usual training bases. That situation resulted in venues such as the pool located at Madrid’s High-Performance Center not being able to host its training group upon de-escalating from the national lockdown.

However, earlier this week, RFEN announced that they are searching for a coach to lead a training group at the facility. Per the announcement, “the chosen candidate should commit to possessing basic Spanish language skills when hired,” hinting at a possible search for foreign talent, which led to some controversy across social media.

According to Mundo Deportivo, that would allow for the training base to reopen following the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games, mainly geared toward the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Games. The facility was key in the run-up to both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, serving as the home base for several Olympians throughout both quads.

As it relates to international talent, last August, long-time British coach Sean Kelly was named RFEN‘s National Performance Director for Swimming, a role new to the organization, which constituted a newly “restructured” RFEN. At the time, Kelly conveyed he will be in the field regularly to have a more hands-on approach.

Less than a week after the first announcement, the Spanish governing body for the sport followed suit indicating its support toward finding a solution for the Old Aquatics Center site (Centro Acuático), which was used as part of Madrid’s bidding process for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Games, but never wound up being completed.

The project aims to alleviate the traffic at the Centro de Natación Mundial ’86 aquatics complex – the other 50-meter pool in Spain’s capital owned by the state government.

In terms of capacity, the facility can initially accommodate 1,900 spectators although that number can stretch up to 4,500 attendees, making the arena eligible to host international meets as well.

The venue is slated to feature two 50×25-meter pools, aside from an office building or a hotel, per La Vanguardia.

As of last summer, the plan to resume construction at the site was estimated to cost € 30 million (roughly $ 33 million USD). The the initial value lied at € 136.7 million (approximately $ 154 million USD).

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