Monday, August 11, 2008, 2:02 PM

Swimming in Beijing

We ended up going to the swimming event on the 10th. Even though it was an event of qualifying contests, it was an incredible experience. Five or six Olympic records were broken, and the U.S. men's 4x100 meter breast stroke relay broke the World Record!

The area called the Olympic Greens where there are several Olympic venues is very nice. Many large sponsors, including Atlanta's Coca Cola, have set up hospitality centers there. There are a few souvenir stands. Besides checking out the souvenir shops and taking pictures, there aren't any activities there. The swimming event was held in the Aquatic Center, also known as the Water Cube. It's an incredible building. The outer walls are literally made of plastic sheets that look like bubble wraps. There are decorative ponds outside the building with water falls running into the ponds. The interior is quite beautiful as well. Half of the hall is a standard size Olympic pool, and the other half houses a diving pool with various diving boards and platforms.

Michael Phelps received warm applause when he walked in. Yes, he's well known in China as well. It started raining right before the event start time. It's a good thing it's an indoor event. By the time we left the stadium, it was raining cats and dogs. I wondered what happened to the rain cloud chasing plan that we've heard about.

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