Spectator's view - Inside the Aquatics Centre Part 1
One of the fans present on the first morning of swimming at London 2012, roving reporter Warren Chrismas recounts his Saturday experience from the Aquatics Centre.
What did you see?
Heats for six different swimming events including the Men's 400m Medley (featuring Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps) and the women's version with British hope Hannah Miley.
Where did you watch it?
We were in cheap seats (£20) in the Aquatic centre, just six rows from the top of one of the huge, 7000-capacity side wings (which will be removed after the Olympics). It was very, very high up. We had an unobstructed (almost top-down) view of the pool, but little else. And the sound system wasn't loud enough – boo! As you may have heard, there were a lot of empty seats around…
How was getting in/out?
We aimed to arrive at the Olympic Park two hours before the event, as advised. It seemed over-cautious at first, as initial entry was quick and smooth, but there are various checks and entrances to get through, so it's sound advice. The area around Westfield was very busy when we left. Can only imagine what it will be like when the stadium is in use.
What was the crowd like?
Fans around us were literally aged from seven months to seventy. Most were British, of course, but there were many groups of Americans, Canadians, Australians, Dutch and more. We met a family who had travelled from Somerset. Okay, it's not the other side of the world, but they set off at 3am. Good work.
How was the atmosphere?
Very good, given that these were heats, not finals. Definitely a good 'day one' buzz about the place. The crowd was hugely partisan, of course (the noise was noticeably louder for races featuring Brits), but that's swimming for you. One US swimmer's friends and family sat just in front of us, but left as soon as he qualified!
What were the best bits?
It was great joining the masses in cheering home a Qatar swimmer in the first race of the day. He finished a full minute behind the winner in a men's 400m heat – almost an 'Eric the Eel' moment. We enjoyed seeing Hannah Miley's victory in the 400m Medley. And we were also lucky enough to see an Olympic record, set by US swimmer Dana Vollmer in the 100m Butterfly. Oh, and the Queen and various royals popped their heads in. Random!
Where you there too? Let us know about your experiences…