Omaha Wins Bid to Host the 2016 US Olympic Swimming Trials

  38 Braden Keith | April 27th, 2013 | Featured, National, News, US Olympic Trials

pinit fg en rect gray 28 Omaha Wins Bid to Host the 2016 US Olympic Swimming Trials

Three for three! In bowling, they call that a turkey. In classic video game jargon, they’re “heeeating up!”. In swimming, we can refer to that as being “Omaha”.

In a live webcast today, USA Swimming announced that Omaha, Nebraska will be the host of the 2016 Olympic Trials, marking the third-straight occassion the midwestern town of just over 400,000 residents (and more than double that in it’s metropolitan area), making it the United States’ 42nd-largest city.

Omaha beat out fellow last-round nominees St. Louis, Missouri, and San Antonio, Texas for the bid. Other announced finalists that were eliminated earlier in the process were Jacksonville, Florida; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Greensboro, North Carolina.

The meet’s host will once again be the CenturyLink Center. Traditionally used for college basketball, minor league hockey, and the annual shareholders meeting of Warren Buffet’s investing megalyth Berkshire-Hathaway. It holds 18,975 spectators in its largest capacity, though for swimming in 2012 they were able to stretch it to just 13,200 (still more than we saw in 2008).

The city is a regional commercial hub of sorts, with five members of the Fortune 500 headquartered there.

Omaha becomes the fifthth site to host this meet three tims or more, joining Long Beach, Indianapolis, the New York City area, and Detroit (though recall that 5 of the first 7 official Trials meets had split sites).

As for concerns over conflict with the College World Series, with an expected later start date for the 2016 Trials (coinciding with a later Olympic date), there should be even less than the small two-day conflict we saw in 2012.

The city may be much smaller than the two it beat out, but they love their sports. Keep in mind that they once packed 17,000 into CenturyLink for a college volleyball match. And it was only a national semi-final, at that.

Fair warning: Farrell’s, the bar that hosted the best party of the week in Omaha, went out of business shortly after the 2012 Trials. I guess we’ll have to find a new locale to shut down in 2016.

 

Comments

  1. swim TX says:
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    is there a firm date for trials yet?

    • WHOKNOWS says:
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      Actual dates are still be negotiated… but look for early July (also standards won’t be published until late 2014).

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    big surprise! i never saw this coming… (sarcasm)

    • Reed says:
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      Seriously. I’m sure it’s a terrific town, and a great site. But opening up the bidding process and having a live announcement to “build suspense” now look like a joke. I wish they’d just say the truth, which is that it will be there as long as Mutual of Omaha is their primary sponsor.

  3. Hehe Suisse shah dude says:
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    Kind of disappointed. While a great venue, was hoping it would be in at St. Louis or San Antonio. I think it would have been better for the growth of swimming ad a nice change of scenery.

  4. Swimfan1992 says:
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    Sad day! Had a chance to host it in a real city and fumbled again! Outrageous hotel prices, not enough rooms close to the venue, overlapping another event and high airline cost! St. Louis or San Antonio is better prepared to host such an event! Sad, Sad! USA Swimming whiffs again!

  5. Matt says:
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    Farrell’s closed?!! Where are we going to get our individual buff chick pizzas after finals?! Oh the tragedy!

  6. jman says:
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    And swimming continues to get more boring and predictable. USA Swimming should not waste the other cities time and money when this was obviously a foregone conclusion.

    • WHOKNOWS says:
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      They use to say that about Indianapolis in the 80’s and 90’s.

    • NoName says:
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      I AM A CONFIDENT SWIMMER AND I AM VERY MAD AND FRUSTRATED THAT YOU ARE SAYING THIS ABOUT A SPORT THAT NOT ONLY ME AND OTHER PEOPLE HAVE BEEN AND STILL ARE TRAINING FOR THIS SPECIAL MOMENT TO FINALLY HAPPEN!!! SOME OF THE MOST WORLDS FASTEST SWIMMERS CAME TO BE AT THE LAST OLYMPICS AND THAT IS WHAT HAS EXCITED ME TO BECOME A BIG NATIONAL SUPERSTAR SWIMMER SO U BETTER SHUT YOUR MOUTH ABOUT YOUR OPINION ABOUT SWIM AND REALIZE THE HARD WORK AND TRAINING MANY PEOPLE HAVE GONE THROUGH JUST TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS AND I BET YOU WILL NEVER EVER EVEN GET AS FAR AS THE FIRST STEP TO BECOMING SOMEONE LIKE THIS!!!!

  7. coacherik says:
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    How do we know this was a forgone conclusion and just a formality? I would like to think that USA Swimming would be better than that and not string along 6 potential hosts just to say Omaha. In 3 more years, the city will more suited for it. Congrats to all the finalists, to Omaha for putting on a great show the last two trials and getting a third opportunity.

  8. beerme says:
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    i know it’s only one week every four years and Omaha is a good venue, but spread the wealth USA Swim…starting to get bored.

  9. coacherik says:
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    Don’t think for a second prices won’t be higher in San Antonio or St Louis then they normally are. Weekends and big events always come with higher rates, it’s how the hotel industry works.

    Trials will be later so the conflict is less likely, Omaha (and its suburbs) are growing comercially as we speak and flights are expensive to just about anywhere, from anywhere these days.

    • Swimfan1992 says:
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      Come on, really! It’s called supply and demand! 10,000 rooms in Omaha and 43,000 in SA, with 13,500 just downtown. No comparison when it comes to room availability, which drives rates. Don’t waste everyone and make this big to-do and announcement. SA & St. Louis are better equipped to handle this event, without question.

  10. aswimfan says:
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    Those fire suddenly bursting during an ongoing race was so unnecessary. a distraction.

  11. DRYLAND says:
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    Wished it was San Antonio.

    Omaha is too far our family to go visiting, when kids will be busy with summer camps.

  12. Josh says:
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    I really wish Orlando would have bid for this event. Flight availability from across the country, more hotel space than pretty much anyplace in America, things to do after the meet so that families who are taking vacation can really make a vacation out of it, multiple 50 meter pools in the area, and they could have hosted it in the Amway Center arena. If Orlando had bid and lost, we’d really know if the Omaha win is the result of nepotism.

    • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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      Josh, they couldn’t host in the Amway Center because of conflicts with the NBA playoffs. Even if there were a 1 in a million chance you could convince an NBA team to leave town for a few weeks mid-season (the Bulls do it for the circus), it’s a literal impossibility that they’d commit to it during the playoffs (which end in late June – not nearly enough time to turn around the arena for the Trials, run a test event, etc.)

      This is the problem with hosting the event. There just aren’t a ton of big enough arenas in big enough cities that don’t host NBA or NHL teams. Omaha, Greensboro, the Rosemont Horizon in suburban Chicago, Veterans Memorial in Jacksonville (though that was ultimately deemed too small)…and then a whole bunch of huge college arenas in college towns (Lexington, Knoxville). I’m sure there’s a few others that might fit the bill, but any NBA or NHL arena is flat-out ruled out from hosting.

      That’s why you see places like Greensboro, Omaha, and then football stadiums make the list. Greensboro and Omaha arenas are college/minor league hosts, and football doesn’t play in the summer.

      • nbafan says:
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        Even if the somewhat impossible happens (Lebron leaves Miami) and then the mostly impossible happens (Magic make the 2016 NBA finals), the Finals are over by mid June, which leaves plenty of time to convert the arena for swimming Trials in early July.

        • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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          Nbafan that just isn’t true. Take 2012. Finals ended June 21st. It takes 10 days to build the pool. That means it would have been impossible in 2012. Even if it were a July 4th start or so as expected in 2016, that would mean if you started the day after the finals, you’d have about 3 days for margin of error. No test event. All in an arena that has never hosted the meet before.

          NBA and NHL arenas are not an option until something in the timing drastically changes. Period. Wherever they host the meet has to be guaranteed to be available the entire month of June at a minimum.

          • Michael says:
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            The 2012 NBA Finals ended on June 21st because the lockout pushed the season to start later than usual (obviously), and they (stupidly) decided to have a 66-game season that started on Christmas Day. The 2013 Stanley Cup Final will probably end in late June because of…the lockout. There’d certainly be plenty of time to turn an NBA/NHL arena into an Olympic Trials venue. Just pray there’s no lockout in either league (because those two leagues love lockouts) in an Olympic year.

  13. Christian Anton says:
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    Glad to see that trials went to a city that knows how to run this event. Sorry to SA and SL but Omaha has run a great event at the previous 2 trials and hopefully 2016 trials will be just as amazing as the previous 2 and hopefully even better.

  14. Unreal says:
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    Just like USA Swimming to lead everyone on, make bidders feel like they had a chance in hell, go through a bullshit process for show when the decision was probably already made.

  15. Jiggs says:
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    Can’t wait to see what the promised “surprises” Ohmaha has in store for 2016. For one, they’ve got plans for a new scoreboard and better electronic banners. Bring it on.
    The other bidding cities hinted that the spectators would be so close that they might even get wet. If this happens at the CenturyLink Center they might get burnt up. I just hope the coverage is reliable and the broadcasters are well-informed.

    Dream scenario: International live webcast with hosts Gold Medal Mel & Friends.

    • aswimfan says:
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      I second your dream scenario.

      It’s a pity that there’s no international live webcast for international swimming fans.

  16. beach bumb says:
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    Follow the money.

  17. jamesmc says:
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    smaller arena + jack up tix prices = sold out success (money) for usa swim

    i would guess chances of filling up bigger arena are slim so usa swim doesn’t want to look like a flop…but bottom line is all about $$$

  18. WHOKNOWS says:
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    Maybe, just maybe… Omaha had the best bid… I believe that committee went over their 76 point check list and Omaha had the most checks! It’s a competition for one of the premiere sporting events of the quadrenium. The committee did their job and it passed unanimously by the Board of Directors. Don’t waste your time with negative input…. It’s not going to do you any good.

    • CCAT says:
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      You’re right, input (negative or positive) doesn’t do any good when it comes to USA Swimming and the people who monopolize the many boards and committees. It seems that minds are usually always made up and the processes are only for show. Just because some decision passes “unanimously” does not mean the process was fair.

      • Swimfan1992 says:
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        Well said! I don’t care if it was unanimous or not! USA Swimming failed, in bringing the 2016 Trials to a city that can handle the influx of people. Whoknows – who are you to tell anyone not to put their “Negative input in”! If I have an opinion, I have every right to voice it. God forbid anyone question USA Swimming. After all, they have a history of being above board on all their dealings and a reputation of highest of integrity! ( sarcasm )!

  19. coacherik says:
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    Do you know that for sure based on the 70+ criteria points USA Swimming deemed crucial to hosting this event, that they were the best suited for this meet? Does your 10K hotel rooms include Council Bluffs, which is a freeway bypass away from Omaha?

  20. newswim says:
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    I have no reason to doubt that Omaha came through on technical merits with very high marks. But I do wonder if the “post-Phelps” era of uncertainty came into play re the decision. Maybe 2016 is time to for modest expansion plans to gauge how well USA Swimming can grow the sport without a once in a lifetime swimmer like Phelps. In this context, Omaha is even more compelling if you have more modest ambitions for growth.

    Trial cuts don’t come out until late next year….but is it also possible that 2016 cuts will be engineered to stabilize or reduce the number of participants (and hence the number of participant’s spectating friends/families)? I’m guessing (and this is based on pure conjecture) that they will stabilize the numbers and we won’t see significant growth in 16 participants versus 12 participants. Without the major expansion in numbers, which we saw in 08 and again in 12, it will be harder to fill those seats especially without a Phelps.

    • CoachNerd says:
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      Well, there were definitely too many athletes at the meet in 2012… The cuts will need to be harder in 2016.

      You don’t ‘grow the sport’ at USA Olympic Team Trials… it only serves to water down the meet. There is no need for 100+ athletes per event.

  21. PAC12BACKER says:
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    Follow the money trail back to USA Swimming and you will see that Omaha was the preferred pick. Strictly business. Not quite predetermined, but it’s difficult to get on base when there’s two stirkes against you already, as San Antone and Show Me City Louis had.

    Hey, Omaha has a great zoological part also!

  22. Swimmmmer says:
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    If they release the cuts late 2014 does that mean you only have summer of 2015 and 2016 to qualify? Or can you use a time previously achieved?

    • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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      Swimmmmmer – each Olympic cycle has its own twists and turns, but more-likely-than-not, the qualifying period will begin in 2014 sometime.

  23. Arlie says:
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    Any new information on dates?

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About Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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