The chief commercial officer for USA Swimming says selecting Indianapolis to host the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials was “an easy decision for us,” noting the city’s track record in hosting major sporting events. USA Swimming and the Indiana Sports Corp. announced last week Indy will host the nine-day event at Lucas Oil Stadium to select Team USA swimmers. The city last hosted the trials in 2000, before it was relocated to Omaha.
USA Swimming Chief Commercial Officer Shana Ferguson appeared on Inside INdiana Business this past weekend to discuss the decision with sports contributor Bill Benner.
“The bid was fantastic. The bids from the other finalist cities were fantastic as well. But Indianapolis was a leader for us from the get-go,” said Ferguson.
In its bid, the city said it would build two, 50-meter portable pools and one, 25-meter pool inside Lucas Oil Stadium, a venue which offers thousands of seats.
USA Swimming says at the 2016 trials, the last event held with spectators before the pandemic, nearly 200,000 spectators attended the 15 sessions in Omaha. It generated more than $74 million in economic impact for the city.
“Indianapolis is going to be a great home for us in 2024,” said Ferguson. “We do quite a few meets in Indianapolis throughout the years and really couldn’t ask for a better host city.”
In addition to the competition arena, plans are also in the works for a 100,000 square foot fanfest-type activity center, called the Aqua Zone.
The 2024 event will mark the 100-year anniversary of the first time Indy hosted the event ahead of the 1924 Olympic Games, which were also held in Paris. The trials were held at Broad Ripple Park, which at the time, had the largest indoor pool in the U.S.
The USA Swimming executive says the historic symmetry was not lost among committee members.
“Certainly, there’s something poetic about us coming back 100 years later, from the 1924 trials that named a team to head to Paris in 1924,” said Ferguson. “But that truly wasn’t the only factor. Indianapolis is just an incredible, incredible city.”