WAVES is on a winner at last

WODONGA’S unfinished WAVES aquatic centre is poised to host its first major event — in January next year.

The $11 million centre will be announced as the venue for the 2014 Victorian Country Swimming Championships during titles starting at Sale today.

Swimming Victoria has agreed to host the titles at Wodonga, despite WAVES not having a warm-down pool for competitors — a pre-requisite for major competitions such as the country titles.

Organisers will consider operating a bus service to the Wodonga indoor pool for warm-downs during the three-day competition.

The Sale centre has indoor and outdoor pools at the one complex.

Wodonga Council, Wodonga Swimming Club and the Ovens and Murray District Swimming Association are behind the bid to host the country championships at WAVES which was supposed to open on December 1.

The O and M hosted the country titles at the Albury Swim Centre — which has a warm-down pool — in the mid-2000s.

It wasn’t considered for next year’s titles.

The country championships provide a big economic lift for the host city with more than 600 swimmers competing.

They have been held at Warrnambool and Bendigo in recent years.

The secondary warm-down pool at WAVES has been earmarked for future stages of the centre, but no timeline has been revealed for when that might happen.

WAVES will be the only 10-lane pool in the O and M district once completed.

The pool has been filled with water ahead of an opening late next month.

The delayed opening has created scheduling headaches for the O and M with four competitions moved from WAVES, including the two-day district championships next month.

They will be held at Yarrawonga on February 9-10.

Wodonga school swimming carnivals have also been rescheduled to the Albury and Lavington pools when school returns this month.

A Swimming Victoria spokesman yesterday declined to comment on the Wodonga bid to host next year’s country titles.

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