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Barcelona opens swimming worlds with an appeal to preserve water

Updated: 2013-07-20 11:38

BARCELONA, Spain - Barcelona opened on Friday evening the 15th FINA World Championships at the Palau Sant Jordi with an appeal to preserve water as a source of life amid a spectacle of water, lights and sound.

The ceremony started with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC) playing the original soundtrack of the swimming worlds, called "Water Planet", which was composed by Albert Guinovart and Salvador Niebla.

Afterwards, the show "Dreams of Water" began with the image of a springboard diver jumping from the port of Barcelona (where high diving and open water competitions will take place) and appearing in the swimming pool of the Palau Sant Jordi.

The ceremony used as a background a conversation between an elderly man and a child, who is told a legendary fable about water and its ability to bring extraordinary beings to life. However, humanity did not appreciate water and it disappears.

The swimming pool then became a dry field due to desertification until the child threw a medal that made the water return, delivering a message about the need of conserving water as an essential element for living in the Earth.

The child gets into the water, to become an adult butterfly swimming, and gets out of it as an old man who was actually the scuba diver Eduard Ametlla, 89, the first man who dived until 100 meters.

But the most emotional moment of the ceremony was when a group of "Castellers" built a human tower inside the swimming pool and around 10,000 people clapped their hands emotionally.

According to the organizers, the ceremony "has been conceived from the perspective of the universal nature of water and of those men and women who have achieved their status as aquatic athletes" while being "a homage to the union of water and sportspeople."

And with this sentence, representatives of the 181 different countries and regions participating in the competition paraded around the swimming pool of the Palau Sant Jordi.

A total of 230 people took part in the ceremony, including actors, acrobats, springboard divers, synchronized swimmers and volunteers.

The president of the regional government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, also attended the ceremony, along with the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, the President of the Spanish Swimming Federation, Fernando Carpena and the Doctor Julio Maglione, the president of the International Swimming Federation.

Barcelona Swimming World Championships set a record in terms of participation: a total of 2,293 athletes will compete in Barcelona 2013 compared to the 2,220 of Shanghai 2011.

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