INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials are returning to Indianapolis in 2024.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, alongside the Indiana Sports Corp and USA Swimming, confirmed the announcement Tuesday morning.
The Sports Corp's bid to host the event in Lucas Oil Stadium was a groundbreaking attraction for USA Swimming, the sport's national governing body that selects the site of the trials every four years.
Since Indianapolis last hosted the event at the IU Natatorium in 2000, Omaha, Nebraska, has regularly staged the trials in its riverfront arena and convention center, selling out for the 2020 trials, which were moved to 2021 due to COVID-19.
Omaha bid to keep the 2024 trials in Nebraska, but with only 14,000 seats compared to a potential 30,000 or more spectators in an indoor stadium, USA Swimming has been exploring moving the event to larger venues.
Lucas Oil Stadium's availability for late June in 2024, coupled with the city's history of hosting major swimming events and the proximity of hotel rooms and the Natatorium to the stadium were all unique aspects boosting the Indianapolis bid to host.
The city likely scored points with decision-makers with its staging of the entire NCAA Men's Basketball tournament last year, using Lucas Oil Stadium for games on two courts separated by a curtain.
The swimming event is expected to be staged in a similar layout featuring two 50-meter pools, one being the main pool for competition and a second pool for swimmers to use for workouts and warming up.
The Olympic Trials were held in Indianapolis at the IU Natatorium in 1984, 1992, 1996 and 2000, when Michael Phelps made his first first Olympic team as a 15-year-old.
Indianapolis has an even longer history of hosting the trials, dating all the way back to 1924 when the event was held in Broad Ripple and selected swimmers for the Paris Olympics. One hundred years later, Indianapolis will select another team that will represent USA Swimming in another Paris Olympics.
An Indianapolis contingent traveled to Omaha in 2021 after submitting its bid to "scout" the event.
Other stadium bids came from St. Louis and Minneapolis, which — like Indianapolis — have hosted NCAA Final Fours and, in the case of Minneapolis, a Super Bowl. But neither could boast the resume of Indianapolis when it came to regularly hosting national and international swimming competitions like the 2004 FINA World Championships.
In addition to the IU Natatorium, Indianapolis offers more than a dozen 50-meter competition pools in its metro area, creating the potential for hosting scores of amateur swimmers who could spend the week of trials training and competing in ancillary events surrounding the trials when not attending the competition in Lucas Oil Stadium.