During the five-day event, held in Manchester in April 2008, 18 new world records were set. The British team took its fair share of the glory, breaking 42 national records and picking up three gold, 10 silver, and 11 bronze medals to finish fifth in the tables.The event, which brought together 800 swimmers from more than 130 countries, was supported by The National Lottery.
The occasion prompted an impressive transformation of the Manchester Evening News Arena from concert venue into sports stadium. For the first time in its eclectic history, the arena was fitted with two temporary pools. Each night, lighting and sound displays added to the excitement for the 8,000-plus spectators, while underwater speakers gave the competitors a little extra inspiration, in the form of bursts from the distinctive Jaws soundtrack.
“The 2008 Championships changed the face of swimming not just in this country but around the world,” said James Hickson, five-time world swimming champion and Head of PR for the event. “Having it in the MEN arena, where we could do new things with lights and music, showed swimming can have a glamorous side to it which attracted new people and more media attention to a fantastic sport.”