Over 550 athletes from 35 nations took part in the competition, which doubled up as an official Olympic test event for the Paris 2024 Games which run from 26 July to 11 August.

The venue will host artistic swimming and diving, as well as the early rounds of the women’s and men’s water polo competitions.

The artistic swimmers are the first athletes to test out the new facility competitively and told World Aquatics just how delighted they were by the experience.

Views Of The Athletes

Image Source: A general view of the Paris Olympic Aquatics Center during the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup in Paris, France (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

“The venue is amazing and it’s very beautiful, big and impressive and it represents France,” said French Tokyo 2020 Olympian Charlotte Tremble.

“When we walked in and saw the Olympic pool for the first time it’s just goosebumps all over and you start to get the buzz and excitement that the Olympics is coming fast,” said USA’s Bill May, who is aiming to become the first man in history to compete in the sport at an Olympics.

“I think the venue is amazing with all the facilities and the pool is amazing,” stated Egypt’s two-time Olympian Nihal Saafan.

She continued; “I think it will be very crowed here and people will be so excited to see us and everyone who is competing from all over the world, so it will be packed!”

Austrian sisters Anna-Maria and Erini-Mariana Alexandri, who won the Duet Free gold at the Olympic test event were equally full of praise following their time in Saint Denis. 

“I think it’s amazing,” said Anna-Maria. “It’s big and it’s beautiful and the venue is very light, so the water is clear which I really like.”

Erini-Mariana continued; “It will be amazing with the audience and the lights because when we step in we got goosebumps and I felt the Olympic spirit which was so amazing.”

“It’s amazing, the pool is beautiful and it’s a good job by the federation and for the Olympics,” said Colombian world medallist Gustavo Sanchez.

Kenzie Priddell of Canada told World Aquatics the venue makes athletes “feel like stars” and that “anything was possible” such was the positivity generated by the environment.”

USA Pan-American Games medallist Megumi Field added; “you get really good vibes from the whole place and the fact it’s very eco-friendly in the way it was built is a huge plus.”

Views from the French Federation of Swimming (FFN)

Image Source: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

While hoping for strong, medal-winning, performances in the pool FFN chief executive Laurent Ciubini is keen to stress that the ‘success’ of the Games will also be judged via their legacy targets.

As part of that mission school children from around the region were invited to attend the Olympic test event and they arrived in significant numbers.

“This venue is placed in an area in France (Saint-Denis) where the numbers of ‘learn to swim’ are the worst (in the country), so in this venue we worked with the department and local authorities to bring children and get them inspired by the events,” Ciubini told World Aquatics.

“The event is here to make people see stars in their eyes and then go to learn to swim.”

The Olympic Aquatics Centre is one of only two new permanent venues created for the Paris 2024 Games and features a number of ground-breaking eco-friendly construction aspects.

“Paris 2024 has a strong strategy about sustainability so this one was built with all of the eco-friendly norms, the water recuperation, solar panels and wood where possible in construction,” continued Ciubini.

“This venue is central to the future, everything is done to have less impact on the environment and everybody is delighted with the venue.”

What Happens Next?

Image Source: Adam Pretty

On 6 May the French women’s water polo team will take on reigning Olympic champions the USA in a demonstration ‘friendly’, as a test event for the sport.

From 8-10 May many of the world’s leading divers will have the chance to compete from the Olympic 3m springboard and 10m platform for the first time during an International Diving Championships competition.

The Olympic diving events will run in the Olympic Aquatics Centre from 27 July to 10 August, with the artistic swimming disciplines taking place between 5-10 August.

Water polo competitions will begin at the venue on 27 July and continue through to 4 August before moving to the Paris La Defense Arena setting on 5 and concluding on 11 August.

It has already been announced that the European Aquatics Championships will take place in the Paris Olympic Aquatics Centre in 2026.