“This is our Superbowl week” Chuck Wielgus on Olympic Trials (VIDEO)

“This is our Superbowl week,” said Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director of USA Swimming, referring to the Olympic Trials in Omaha.

Wielgus talks about having Trials in Omaha, and the benefits that Trials have for the growth of the sport in the USA. He likes the fact that Trials build up a big atmosphere, and that it has become a very legitimate sporting event. “Other events now pay attention to us,” he states, as the attention from other sporting bodies and the media has increased since the Trials have been in Omaha.

In that vein, he talks about how swimmers who miss the Olympic team (most of the participants) will be motivated to come back and get another shot at it. When they go home, they spread stories and talk about how amazing the meet was, which brings out more interest in swimmers’ hometowns.

On the sheer number of athletes participating this week, Wielgus says that 1200-1400 is the range that USA Swimming is looking for. Wielgus admits that they’ve missed the mark the last three OTs, but when they lower time standards by marginal amounts, people find ways to drop those extra tenths the next time they try to qualify.

Wielgus wants the Trials to happen in Omaha again in 2020, though timing is a big issue. Because the Tokyo Games start two weeks earlier in the summer than the Rio Games are scheduled to, the Trials will be pushed back two weeks– that coincides with the College Baseball World Series, which are also held in Omaha. Wielgus said that the two events can “coexist,” but it isn’t a very ideal scenario. Planning for 2020’s Trials will start after they see how this summer goes.

Finally, Wielgus addresses the doping that has run rampant in sports as Rio draws nearer. He believes that more resources should be directed towards “investigative services” in an effort to uncover doping instances earlier and with more efficacy. Wielgus notes that USA Swimming can’t do much about doping in other parts of the world, so it’s up to the appropriate agencies (like the WADA) to get the job done better going forward, and to do so with more resources.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

Mr Wielgus: I enjoyed your comments. Thank you for making them, and I hope you have a great, speedy, glitch-free Trials.

One thing you said, however, I found a bit jarring. You mentioned in your comments your desire to “improve the experience for spectators.”

Too bad you resisted the urge to change to a world class lane line configuration similar to those used at Worlds and the Olympics themselves (solid yellow in 3 central lane lines, etc.).

For those of us spectators following the action on a mobile device or PC (or who will watch the races years from now on YouTube and Vimeo), the configuration you’ve chosen makes it significantly more difficult to follow who is in… Read more »

Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

The middle lanes (blues) are different than the outer lanes (reds) here in Omaha.

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
4 years ago

I agree with years of plain suck.
With stripes, it actually gets more confusing. Why can’t they make it different, simple solid colors in middle lanes and another simple, solid colors in outer lanes?
Like what’s done in the Olympics, the World Championships, and many other countries’ olympics trials we’ve seen this year?

Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

Is this the same person who voiced this opinion on another article about lane line colors? I almost feel like this is Gulliver’s [swim] Travels.

Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

The Us pattern and colors are a little weird, kind of giving off an interlacing effect at various angles with the stripes.
Maybe I’m too old and can’t see right, but it seems that the 15m marks are barely visible.
I also can’t make out any marking for the middle of the pool, all of which makes it hard to gauge where people are.
These are my only complaints and I’m sticking to them. I like all the usaswimming interviews and appreceiate the effort to change the sport of swimming. I just think the international lane line colors don’t need to be changed.

4 years ago

Chuck’s tinted his hair!

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  G.I.N.A.
4 years ago

Someone’s going to accuse you of making personal hygiene comment against Chuck!

Reply to  Attila the Hunt
4 years ago

Yes that was a legend dairy post .

Steve Nolan
4 years ago


About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

Read More »