The 2016 Rio Olympic Games are less than 200 days away, but first American swimmers need to battle the best of the best in domestic talent at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
The Trials are slated to take place June 26th to July 3rd at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, a city which has two Trials-worth of experience at its disposal.
Harold Cliff, who served as the CEO of both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic swimming trials, can barely contain his excitement in discussing the ongoing preparations of the event, giving stats and figures pointing to perhaps the most thrilling version of the meet yet.
Now just four months out from Omaha, take a look at some fast facts surrounding 2016’s biggest swimming event taking place on American soil.
- Cliff attributes the previous and anticipated success of the swimming Trials to the overall flow, organization and set-up of the actual CenturyLink site. “Swimmers, coaches, and even the media found the benefit of coming back to Omaha for many reasons. The venue works really, really well. The airport is in close proximity to the venues, and so are many of the hotels,” says Cliff.
- As far as the network responsible for broadcasting the event, Cliff says that “NBC has a considerable amount of comfort in the building because they know they have the space to get everything done the way they want it. It comes down to the event itself works in this venue, and that has already been demonstrated.”
- The 8-day and 4-day Trials ticket packages are already exceeding the pace of the past two trials, according to Cliff, who said that 7300 all-session ticket packages have already been sold for this year’s edition. 5,200 all-session packages in total were sold for the 2012 Trials.
- In light of the terrific consumer response, Cliff says that, There’s a very strong likelihood, if we continue to reach our targets, that we will sell out every session of the 2016 trials.”
- Approximately 27,000 hotel room nights have already been sold for this year’s event, where as a total of 23,500 were sold back in 2012.
- Spectators are encouraged to keep in mind that there will be 2 or 3 days’ worth of overlap between Trials and the College Baseball World Series, which will undoubtedly impact hotel and transportation supplies.
- Ticket sales have given organizers a positive indication that their economic impact forecasts will indeed come to fruition. The target economic impact was estimated to be $35-$40 million and Cliff says “it’s shaping up to be very solid,” meaning good earnings news for area businesses.
In The Pool
- Approximately 1400 swimmers have already qualified to swim at this year’s Trials, with still plenty of qualification time to go.
- As indicated in our “Seven Fast Administrative Facts” piece from January, 10 lanes will most likely be used for morning prelims, helping to make the daily morning session more efficient.
- Interestingly, the pool will be slightly wider – one meter, to be exact – than the two previous Trials’ due to the gutter design. Says Cliff, “It’s a technical thing because there has not been room to have lane ropes on the outside lanes. There was [previously] no lane rope next to the gutter system.”