The complex was built in record time, only sixteen months: March 2002 - August 2003; the Games took place on December 5 to 15, 2003.
Apart from the strict deadline, the Vietnamese government demanded use of local skilled labour wherever possible and construction of facilities which would be eligible for FINA approval.
The complex includes three swimming pools, two Olympic-sized pools and one indoor diving pool.
A single large, curvaceous roof covers the building containing one of the Olympic pools, with 2500 seats for spectators, and a diving pool with 1000 seats. The tiers of seats for the two pools are opposite one another, drawing a pyramid shape broken in the middle by the full height of the hall.
The roof, supported by a consistent metal grid skeleton, covers the entire length of the building, rising directly out of the ground and continuing for over a hundred metres with a sinusoidal shape like the back of a whale. The lateral curtain walls are mostly made of glass, also supported by a metal frame.