Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has opened the Susie O'Neill Swimming Pool for the 12th FINA World Championships to be held in Melbourne later this month.
Mr Bracks said the event, which runs from March 17 to April 1, would showcase Melbourne and Victoria to about one billion people around the world.
He said it was appropriate to name the temporary pool at Rod Laver Arena after O'Neill, who won eight Olympic medals including two golds.
"I think it's a great honour, that she accepted to have the pool named after her, and it's a great honour for us in Australia," Mr Bracks said.
"It's a great honour for FINA more broadly, and this will be known of course as we go through the ten days of competition in this venue in the Rod Laver [Arena] with the competition pool and the syncronised swimming which will be held here, the Susie O'Neill pool."
O'Neill won the honour over swimming greats including Petria Thomas, Ian Thorpe, Kieran Perkins, Sam Riley and Tracey Wickham, and says having a pool named after her is better than winning a gold medal.
"Because only one person can, it can be named after only one Australian, but a lot of Australian athletes win Olympic gold medals at the one time, so I feel very special," O'Neill said.
"I don't feel old enough to be honest... I can't get my head around it to be honest, [I am] very honoured and surprised."
The temporary Olympic-sized swimming pool has been constructed over the past month by AstralPool and has converted Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open Tennis, into a world-class swimming venue with a capacity of just under 12,000 for the championships (reduced from its normal capacity of around 16,000).