Indianapolis working to bring Olympic swimming trials to Lucas Oil Stadium
The Indianapolis Sports Corp. is taking the first steps toward bringing another Olympic trial to Indianapolis.
Just ahead of Friday's deadline, it let USA Swimming know it wants in the 2016 trials for swimming. Indianapolis has hosted the meet six times, most recently in 2000 at the IUPUI Natatorium.
Thursday, members of the Roncalli High School swim team were doing drills at the Nat, a place where they practice 18 hours a week.
Asked what they thought about Indy going for the 2016 trials Hannah Gahimer said, "I know we had the diving trials here a couple of years ago. I think it would be awesome to have more names on the wall of champions."
Patrick Murphy agreed, "It would be very cool. It would feel like you were a part of the action."
But the trials would not be held at the Natatorium. Because of the growing popularity of the sport, USA Swimming wants a venue that can hold up to 15,000.
While Indy built a temporary pool at then Conseco Fieldhouse in 2004 for the World Swimming Championships, it was a short course or 25-meter pool. The Olympic trials require two 50-meter pools, something the Fieldhouse could not accommodate.
The Sports Corp.'s John Dedman said the above ground pools would instead be built at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Abby Pongracz laughed, "That's a little hard to imagine considering it's a football stadium."
But given the city's history of hosting big events, the students said they felt certain Indy could pull it off.
"Considering we just had the Super Bowl I think we could handle it. I mean, Indianapolis is a beautiful city," Pongracz said.
Most of all, the swimmers say, they'd love to see country's best swimmers competing in Indianapolis.
"You're used to seeing it on TV and that's good, but being there live, that's a whole different experience," said Bobby McKay.
Emily Griffin said, "It's fun to be in the venue, because you can feel everyone's [excitement] and you get wrapped into it, even if you're not into swimming."
As many as 16 other cities are also testing the waters including Louisville, Jacksonville, Greensboro and two-time host Omaha.
Dedman said while the Sports Corp let it be known they're interested in the event, they are not at the point of submitting a formal bid.
USA Swimming is expected to make a decision in May.