INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been more than two decades since Indianapolis hosted the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, but the passion for the sport never left the Hoosier state.
“We decided in Indiana that we can compete not just on the national stage but on the world stage,” said Chris Plumb, head coach & CEO of Carmel Swim Club.
Last year, Carmel Swim Club sent eight athletes to the trials in Omaha with two of them winning a spot on Team USA.
“Watching Drew [Kibler] make the team was a great moment, and then having Jake [Mitchell] in a time trial alone in the pool, that might have been the swim of the meet,” Plumb said.
Now that the trials are back in Indiana, the club hopes young Hoosiers will also get a taste of the excitement.
“That’s our goal here. Somebody who may have thought about trying swimming, they can go see the bright lights, the celebration, the spectacle, and it might excite them enough to take that step,” said Maggie Mestrich, director of business development for Carmel Swim Club.
Mestrich was inspired as a young swimmer when she went to the 2000 Olympic Swimming Trials at the IU Natatorium. She knows the upcoming trials can do the same for others.
“Swimming is one of the most amazing sports that can not only change your life, but it can save your life. So from our perspective, the more kids and community members we can get excited about the sport, the better,” she said.
This historic event is going to take a lot of work. Organizers need to build three pools in Lucas Oil Stadium, something that has never been done before.
“I mean, I’ve seen them in basketball arenas, but to have it in a stadium, I think, is going to be amazing,” said Plumb. “There is a first for everything and this will be the first time in a football stadium, which is great for our sport.”
The stadium will be able to seat 30,000 fans or more. Mestrich hopes a lot of them will be Hoosiers cheering on hometown athletes.
“That’s what helped us this summer with trials and cheering on our Olympians. We’re excited for what that will do in 2024,” Mestrich said.
As organizers start planning, the city and its athletes are ready to make a splash on the world stage and inspire a new generation of Hoosier swimmers.
“It will provide that ignition, that spark for younger kids to get excited about the sport for future generations,” Plumb said. “I know Indianapolis is all about the amateur capital of the world, and we really get to have that with swimming, and kids will get to see that firsthand.”
The club is building a new pool for the Carmel Swim Academy that will help grow its community-based programming. Their goal is to inspire more kids to learn how to swim, whether it's for fun or competition.
Click here to learn how to get involved.
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