News

Warringah Aquatic Centre Celebrates 40 Years of Service

Source: Northern Beaches Council
Archived 30 Dec 2019 - Posted: 1 Nov 2019
The Warringah Aquatic Centre at Frenchs Forest is celebrating its 40th birthday on Sunday 3 November. Northern Beaches Council invites the community to come along and join in the free birthday festivities (9am to 6pm) to celebrate this major milestone for the pool, affectionately known as the WAC.

From relatively humble beginnings in the late seventies, the pool has grown from a local swimming facility to a major venue for international, national and state swimming competitions.

Mayor Michael Regan said the day is sure to be a hit with the whole family, particularly the kids with a giant inflatable course, diving boards, face painting, and an aqua disco.

“The community was at the heart of Council’s decision to build the pool so families had the opportunity to swim and play together all year round in excellent conditions,” Mayor Regan said.

“When the pool was opened in 1979, it was hailed as the largest indoor – outdoor public swimming pool complex in Australia.  Before its opening, local swimming clubs organised their swimming carnivals in ocean pools.  

“The opening of the $4 million state-of-the-art Warringah Aquatic Centre – affectionately known as the WAC – changed the way local swim meets were held forever.

“Since opening, over 13 million people have visited the centre - and over 1.5 million of those have participated in Learn to Swim classes.”

On the day, there will be seven new members inducted into the Hall of Fame, bringing to 45 the number of Hall of Fame inductees. The Hall of Fame acknowledges swimmers and officials who have represented Australia or who have contributed to the Warringah / Northern Beaches community.  

Right from the outset the facility attracted elite athletes to the pool for both competitions and training. The Australian swimming team and Warringah’s own Lisa Forrest prepared for the Moscow Olympic Games at the Centre in 1980.

The WAC was again in the Olympic spotlight in 2000, when it was the training venue for Synchronised Swimming in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Swimmers who represented Australia and trained at the WAC include Mitchell Patterson who competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Brooke Hanson who won gold and silver medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Water Polo players Holly Lincoln-Smith and Debbie Watson along with multi-disability swimmers Ben Austin, Matt Levy and Kate Bailey all trained at the pool and represented Australia.

To commemorate the pool’s 40th birthday, Mayor Regan will officially open an exhibition of contemporary sculpture in the gardens of the swimming centre, called 3D Poolside.

“One of Council’s aims is to bring bold contemporary art to new audiences in unexpected places across the whole of the Northern Beaches. Alongside sport and swimming lessons, we also want to inspire children to enjoy a creative life.

“This exhibition presents a diverse range of artwork by emerging and established artists, from both the local area and beyond – and even crosses across generations. Our youngest artist, Jake James is just 11 years old!

“Several new temporary artworks will be commissioned over the next six months, and we hope everyone will enjoy this exhibition as it evolves over summer.”

 
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