Hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics has the nation of Japan in a bit of a tight spot with regards to pool space, as several key swimming venues are temporarily shutting down to prepare for the world sporting event.
Steve Siegel, who has been coaching in Tokyo for upwards of two decades, says local swimmers are struggling for pool space already in the wake of several major shutdowns almost three years out of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
First is the Yoyogi National Stadium, a multi-purpose arena built to house the swimming and diving portions of the 1964 Olympics. That facility shut down earlier this year and is being renovated in order to host the handball competition at the 2020 Olympics. The facility’s website says it will be under construction until January of 2020.
The Tatsumi International Swimming Center is a three-pool facility that has hosted a number of major meets. There’s a 50-meter-by-25-meter racing course for competition, a second long course pool for training and warmup and a separate diving well. It will shut down later this fall, Siegel says, and won’t reopen until close to the Olympics as well. The Tatsumi facility is set to host water polo in 2020.
Next July, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym pools will shut down for the remaining two years until the Olympics. That facility has a 50-meter, 8-lane pool and a 25-meter, 6-lane pool. The facility also has a main gymnasium that will host table tennis at the 2020 Olympics, the reason for the shutdown and overall renovations to the building.
And Siegel says the Yokohama International Pool has been rented out to the British National Team for an undisclosed amount of time leading up to the Olympics.
That will leave some Japanese clubs – and, Siegel says, Olympic hopefuls for the host nation, struggling for adequate pool time and space in the training leadup to those 2020 Olympics. This will be another ongoing story to keep an eye on over the next almost-three years leading up to the 2020 Summer Olympics.