The 33-strong French team got a peak of the future before heading out east to their holding camp prior to the Games in Beijing: they took a trip to the huge 45,000m² site just 500m from the grand Stade de France where the Centre Aquatique Olympique will be built at Aubervilliers.
The pool complex would have formed part of a Paris Games in 2012 but the bid went to London. Good for France that they did not drop their plans. And here is what they French swimming will be getting: a main pool 52m (for boom etc) x 25m; a pool 25m x 15m; a pool of 10m x 25m; a dedicated space outside for a 50m by 25m temporary facility; a diving pit of 31m x 25m; 5,000 permanent seats in the pool; provision for 15,000 temporary seats; two collapsible warm-up pools.
A great venue for a future World or European Championships, perhaps. The French open over the last two seasons has proved, if proof were needed, that the French are capable of putting on a great meet.
The final plans for the centre will be chosen in September this year and work will begin in 2010, in time for the French to win the bid for the 2012 European Championships on the eve of the London Olympic Games.