The Sir Owen G. Glenn National Aquatic Centre is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in the community, from babies through to high performance athletes, have access to a facility they can enjoy and benefit from.
On Wednesday 27 May 2015 the facility was officially opened by Sir Owen Glenn, Hon Murray McCully and Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown and is New Zealand’s home of aquatic sport in New Zealand, as well as an international competition venue.
The National Aquatic Centre, in partnership with the Auckland Council and with the generous support of Lottery Grants Board, Lion Foundation, Sport New Zealand and Glenn Family Foundation, meets the growing demand for flat water from both the public and high performance aquatic sport.
The facility features a 50m Olympic-sized competition pool and a 25m swimming pool and has the capacity to hold between 700 and 4500 people.
Importantly, the National Aquatic Centre is a facility for everyone, including sports clubs, schools, public swimming, events, high performance sport and AUT Millennium’s Schools Programme and Swim School.
One of those users is AUT Millennium employee and running enthusiast, Kiri Price, who has completed an astonishing 125 marathons to date. She was also the 11th woman in New Zealand to join the NZ 100 Marathon Club.
However, this impressive feat almost didn’t happen. On the cusp of her 50th Marathon, Kiri was told by doctors she had to stop running.
A serious ankle injury meant the chances of her running in future marathons were slim to none. Like so many runners, Kiri was suddenly faced with the prospect of never finishing an event again.
The ensuing months were riddled with frustration, sadness and anger. It was at the peak of her frustration that Kiri picked up a flotation belt and took to the water.
“It was incredible. I’d finally found an activity where I could ‘run,”’ she says.
“I learnt a lot by study, trial and error. And as instructed, I did no land-based running at all”.
Kiri explains that the 2.2m deep National Aquatic Centre pool is perfectly suited for deep water running.
The pool quickly became a second home for Kiri. Regular deep water running sessions re-ignited her love for running and allowed her to stay fit and, incredibly, complete the Rotorua marathon some short months later after being given clearance to run again.
“I finished that one with a massive smile on my face”, she says.
The opening of the National Aquatic Centre in 2015 has allowed Kiri to expand and share her expertise with the community. Additional lane space meant there was an opportunity to expand her regular classes for both members and non-members of the facility.
Since the facility opened it has received over 50,000 public swims, many of whom enjoy the benefits of Kiri’s classes and guidance.
The energetic and engaging coach has a passion for running and health and she’s already made a big impact in the lives of those attending her classes.
Since starting deep water running sessions over 5 years ago Kiri has helped over 200 members of the community rehabilitate from injury, lose weight and begin exercising regularly.
The non-weight bearing exercise is ideal for injured runners, non-swimmers and those seeking to improve fitness. The workouts can also be modified for sports teams to cater for specific recovery or training needs.
Kiri’s clientele range from elite athletes through to the elderly. The workouts have the unique opportunity to blend a range of abilities together.
“There’s so much energy every session! We have so much fun, but still work hard. It’s amazing to see such a range of people getting so much out of something that I love doing!”
A qualified swim instructor, running coach and personal trainer, Kiri’s own experience has inspired a number of runners to persist through rehabilitation and continue to pursue the activity they love.
“I’ve seen people cry with happiness when they complete events. Without the National Aquatic Centre, I wouldn’t have been able to connect with this community. The facility is exceptional, the depth and space is ideal for the workouts and everyone is so willing to push themselves”.
“I adore this facility and the people. Deep water running gave me back my running and now I’m able to pass on what I’ve learned to help others”.