SYDNEY (AFP) - The Australian swimming team will train at the Manchester Aquatics Centre in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, Swimming Australia said Monday. Swimming Australia (SA) said it has signed a long-term deal with the Manchester City Council to use the facility for training ahead of at least three major competitions up until 2014. SA said the partnership would start this year when the team will make their final preparations in the northern English city ahead of the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome. "It's important for our athletes to feel at home in the lead-up to major competitions and we've been able to achieve this in recent years," Australian head coach Alan Thompson said. "Leading into Athens (Olympics) in 2004, we went to Sindelfingen in Germany on several occasions and then before Beijing it was Kuala Lumpur for our pre-Games preparations in 2007 and 2008 and both were ideal. "Likewise, Manchester is perfect for us. It will become our hub and the team will quickly get to know the feel of the pool, the city, the people, the cafes and the shopping areas." Thompson said past Australian swimming teams have been in Manchester for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and last year's FINA World Short Course Championships.