Omaha Awarded 2016 Olympic Swim Trials

By: Gary Smollen, The Associated Press Email
By: Gary Smollen, The Associated Press Email

USA Swimming said Saturday afternoon that Omaha will again be the host of the Olympic Swim Trials in 2016.

USA Swimming president Bruce Stratton announced the decision in Colorado Springs. San Antonio and St. Louis were the other finalists.

The CenturyLink Center also hosted the 2008 and 2012 trials. Last year's eight-day event was attended by more than 164,000 fans and the meet was broadcast live in prime time on NBC. Two temporary pools were built inside the CenturyLink Center for the event.

USA Swimming assistant executive director Mike Unger said Omaha won again because the setup for the athletes and coaches was the best among the three finalists.

The trials will be held in early July with dates to be determined later.

Omaha becomes the fifth site to host this meet three times or more, joining Long Beach, Indianapolis, the New York City area and Detroit (though five of the first seven official trials had split sites).

Omaha Sports Commission president Harold Cliff believes good experiences played a big role in the selection. “Certainly Omaha delivered the goods in 2008 and 2012, the athletes and coaches were pleased, the media was pleased, but they certainly had the option to go somewhere else and try to make it larger."

The Aqua Zone expansion, bringing the Olympic Trials experience to the fans was a big success and something USA Swimming wants to expand again. Omaha volunteers and officials have the experience.

The Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority has also stayed on top of changes in the entertainment industry and kept an early promise to Omaha taxpayers.

“We're spending upwards of $10 million this summer in new video scoreboards, ribbon panels, new club remodel and concession stands, so we're really spending the money, we're keeping our pledge to make sure that we keep this state of the art,” said MECA’s Roger Dixon.

Something else that may have helped Omaha is the intimacy of the CenturyLink Center. San Antonio and St. Louis venues are domes where fans would be far away from the pool.

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5th to 21st.

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