A remarkable transformation saw the venue’s floor transformed into an Olympic-sized swimming pool to host the 2007 FINA World Swimming Championships.
To construct the temporary swimming pool, structures called ‘skypools’ were brought in from Barcelona, Spain.
The skypools were made of ‘galvanised steel panels, lengths of steel cable and thousands of metres of rubber lining’ which were joined together to hold 6 million litres of water.
The competition pool did not actually sit on the tennis court, it was held suspended above the ground by a complex system of cross-hatched cables.
This was the first time a temporary competition swimming pool had been installed in an existing stadium in the southern hemisphere.
When swimming legend Susie O’Neill viewed the pool (which was named after her) she commented:
“When I first walked into the Rod Laver Arena a month ago, I could barely imagine just how it might look now and I can say without any doubt that this is one of the most exciting international swimming venues I have ever seen.
“I’m just really-excited and proud. I can’t wait to pop in the water.”
(The Age, 11 March 2007)