USA Swimming Names 6 Finalists for 2016 Olympic Trials Hosting

  65 Braden Keith | January 14th, 2013 | Featured, National, News, U.S. Olympic Trials

Six cities have been named as finalists by USA Swimming to host the 2016 Olympic Trials. After two-straight events were held (magnificently) in Omaha, Nebraska, the bidding has been opened up this year, though Omaha will once again be in the running to bring it back to the state of Nebraska.

The 6 contenders are below:

* Greensboro, N.C.
* Indianapolis, Ind.
* Jacksonville, Fla.
* Omaha, Neb.
* St. Louis, Mo.
* San Antonio, Texas

The bid city evaluation period will run through the end of April and will include site visits to select finalist locations. An internal evaluation team from USA Swimming, along with an outside member of the USA Swimming board, will visit each location and select finalists from the group. In addition to reviewing the bids and making site visits, this team will ask follow-up questions of each city and evaluate all information and responses before ultimately making a recommendation to USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, the USA Swimming Board of Directors and the USOC.

“We are thrilled to begin this process and are excited to see what these cities have to offer,” said Mike Unger, USA Swimming Assistant Executive Director. “The Olympic Trials is the marquee swimming event in the U.S. and has grown into an amazing sports event. We are truly excited to continue to enhance the event and make it even more spectacular in 2016.”

Interestingly, all of the hosting bids are in the Central and Eastern time zones, despite so many of the country’s major swimming hubs being in the West in California. Also not among the finalists are Louisville, who had previously considered a bid and who I thought would’ve made a great host. The 6 finalists are among 16 cities believed to show preliminary interest.

Quick hits on the bid cities, with more thorough analysis to come in the next few weeks:

Indianapolis, Indiana – Discussion has been had about holding it in Lucas Oil Stadium, the 60,000 + seat home of the Indianapolis Colts. The prospect is intriguing, but could be overkill. Indy has a lot of experience hosting big meets though, including this summer’s World Championship Trials as well as both of the 2013 NCAA Championship meets.

Greensboro, N.C. – This might have been what developers used to convince the city of Greensboro to build the beautiful new Greensboro Aquatics Center, something many locals weren’t happy about. That pool isn’t big enough to hold the meet, but the Greensboro Coliseum, in the same complex, certainly is, and that’s where this bid is for.

Jacksonville, Florida – Veteran’s Memorial Arena is the likely target here. It feels very similar to the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, with one small exception: it’s about 8,000 seats smaller. With most finals sessions jam-packed in Omaha, hard to see the meet downsized this much in 2016, even after Phelps.

St. Louis, Missouri – The relative newcomer in this process, St. Louis has been named a finalist. The Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams, seats 60,000 plus and has previously hosted an NCAA basketball Final 4 (which would take up a similarly-small footprint as a pool would). That makes a second bid proposing use of a football stadium. (There is also a hockey arena in St. Louis, but that will be tied up by the St. Louis Blues in June).

San Antonio, Texas – This is a really interesting bid. San Antonio is a huge city that has built an industry around hosting other peoples’ sports teams. They are a frequent NCAA basketball tournament host, despite never having a major contender. They host a college football game every year despite not having their own NFL team and only recently getting a Division I college football team. You know they’d put on a good show, and they’re currently building a huge, outdoor facility that they expect to be able to host national level events in, so swimming is their next target.

Omaha, Nebraska – The sentimental favorite. Host of the last two. The veterans. Rocky IV. Been through many battles, but keeps coming back for more. Omaha has a great downtown close to the CenturyLink Center, won’t bring too many surprises, and we know they can put on a show. There is fatigue in some corners of the swimming community, though, who would love a change of scenery.

Where should 2016 US Olympic Swimming Trials be held?

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65 Comments on "USA Swimming Names 6 Finalists for 2016 Olympic Trials Hosting"


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WHOKNOWS
3 years 8 months ago

Let’s see… how many times did Indianapolis host the Oltmpic Trials – 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000… A nice legacy was left behind with all the Olympian names painted on the wall.
Omaha has great community support… not too many empty seats

Britt
3 years 8 months ago

As a North Carolinian, I really hope Greensboro gets to host them!

peeterdeeter aka tallbear
3 years 8 months ago

St. Louis is a great place. I’d be stoked to swim or watch there, just not in E. St. Louie, unless Nelly shows. Love Greensboro too(home of Stars in Danger on the High Dive right?). Don’t ever want to go to Jacksonville again….I made a promise to myself on that one! You can’t do outdoor in San Antonio, was stuck in a 3 day thunderstorm with no flights out in July or August of 1999. Indy and Omaha are classics, and wow on the show they put on in Omaha, but I think I’m clinically depressed just from wandering the surroundings areas of both cities.

What does that leave? I say Norcal/socal are the natural choices. Swimming meccas that offer more than just pools and hotels as destinations during the two week stay. I think Palo Alto offers a ton, despite the Golden blood that runs through this bear’s veins. Feel free to ignore me tho since we know it will be Omaha…..bring on the steak!

3 years 8 months ago

I’m with you Peeter, I’ve been a spectator at the ’96 trials in Indy and ’04 trials in Long Beach, and I’d love to see trials at any of Cali’s top pools, but failing that Indy would be the location I could most easily attend, so it gets my vote!

YOLO
3 years 8 months ago

St. Louis would be a great spot, and a fun town. It has somewhat of a similar vibe to Omaha and a large draw with the local swimming community. The options of venues in St. Louis is also appealing. Omaha has been fantastic in the past…definitely a toss up between the two

Ellen
3 years 8 months ago

I’d love for St. Louis to host it, but those seem like a pretty solid slate of candidates thought I’m not loving Jacksonville. I guess I’d rank my choices as: St. Louis, Indy, Omaha, Greensboro, San Antonio, Jacksonville.

Lisa
3 years 8 months ago

I would also love for St Louis to host this but I bet it goes back to Indy, tried and true.

Matthew
3 years 8 months ago

Jacksonville!!!!

Jim
3 years 8 months ago

What, did no major city put in a bid? Each of these cities are a pain to get to and have limited hotel space, all of which drives up the cost of attending this event. Why aren’t LA, SF, Chicago, Tampa, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Seattle, etc. bidding for this event? Or, if they are, why aren’t they being selected?

Neptune
3 years 8 months ago

Not sure how Indy is a pain to get to and does not hotel space. They had the Superbowl last year. San Antonio makes no sense if it would be outdoors. It is 100 degrees there in June.

liquidassets
3 years 8 months ago

Long Beach won’t do it again after losing $ on it in ’04

jarrerttbrown
3 years 8 months ago

I guess the reason why we won’t see somewhere like MSG is because of the fact that it’s too big and too busy year round to host something like that. One can dream though.

Jim
3 years 8 months ago

Yes, you’re right re: San Antonio. I always forget they are a large population center, but it never struck me as an event hub. And I also lump the entire Bay Area together (even East Bay) for stuff like this, so SF, San Jose, Oakland, make for one big metro area. I consider the Tampa/Sarasota/Orlando triangle similarly. Point is, we looked at going to Omaha this year, but flight options were wickedly complicated and because rack space was low, you paid very high prices for Best Western -type hotels. The event tickets were the least of the problems.

Coacherik
3 years 8 months ago

I take it you have never traveled to a city that is hosting a major event like this? Hotel prices go up at every hotel for a major sporting event. Look at low end hotels in cities during NFL weekends. All the major cities you listed are already expensive, wait until you drop something like this their.

dmswim
3 years 8 months ago

As a St. Louis native, I would love to see it there! I think a midwest location is optimal because it doesn’t require either west coasters or east coasters to travel more than a few hours and minimizes time zone changes. St. Louis has a major airport and strong swimming community in the area. I’ve been to Greensboro, San Antonio, and Indianapolis as well. Greensboro is a great location but the small airport and east coast location are concerns. The other two seem like decent options.

Anonymous
3 years 8 months ago

St.Louis and Jacksonville have the same issue: both have nothing around the arena area. St. Louis has cool neighborhood areas but nothing even like Omaha downtown (so plan on a lot of driving). As I told friends who were mentioning Jacksonville as an option at this years trials: when they hosted the Super Bowl a few years ago everyone hated it. Everything is really spread out with a really sparse downtown. It was so bad that it came back up during last years Super Bowl coverage. If they do it in San Antonio indoors that can be a blast- the Riverwalk is awesome.

3 years 8 months ago

There is Laclede’s Landing AND a brand new casino (with a Four Seasons Hotel) about 100 yards from the Edward Jones dome. Also, summer in St. Louis means CARDINAL baseball. St. Louis’ museums, parks and other attractions are not as far away as you might think.

Jeff
3 years 8 months ago

The Edward Jones Dome is served by Metrolink light rail. The immediate area has seen a resurgence of development. Pi PIzza (Obama ate at Pi and invited Chefs to White House in first term), Robust Wine Bar, Snarfs, Embassy Suites, MX Movies (high end movie theater) …. Anyone ever heard of City Museum, it’s close by and really fun/interesting. Washington Avenue is stacked with great food and beer bars located on Locust are great (Schlafly Tap Room on Locust St and Bridge Tap House. StL has a lot to offer!

Dan Kraus
3 years 8 months ago

Seriously? Have you been to St. Louis? You can fly into St. Louis, take the metro from the airport to downtown, attend all swimming events and walk to great restaurants, attractions (arch, casino, Laclede’s Landing, Old Cathedral, where the movie The Exorcist began, etc) and never have to rent a car, saving you money. Plenty of hotels downtown, not to mention Cardinal baseball in June. Anonymous, you really should visit first before you spout off about nothing going on in St. Louis. What other town even mentioned has major league baseball going on while you are there?

Kimbelry
3 years 6 months ago

Finally…someone that is also smart about St. Louis. Not to mention that if it is hosted by St. Louis, the athletes will never have to leave the building when they use the other pools. Everything will be constructed with in the Edward Jones Dome. No other city will be able to do that.

Kimberly
3 years 7 months ago

It would be fine in St. Louis. Union Station has great eating in there. Galleria, not that far away from Downtown has great food selections and restaurants are between there. St. Louis is a great location for the trials and it would improve this city in lots of ways. Vote St. Louis.

3 years 8 months ago

st.louis rocks you should host it in st.louis ppppppppppllllllleeeeeaaaaassssseeee!!!!! its my 1 dream !!!

jeantuehl
3 years 8 months ago

St. Louis is not a swimming town, and St. Louis is Africa hot in the summer being situated in the largest river valley in the US. Worse than Omaha for sure. It’s strictly a baseball town, nothing more, nothing less. It would have to be inside for sure, maybe at the hockey arena where the Blues play. Good pasta in “The Hill” district.

DMSWIM
3 years 8 months ago

While I agree the St. Louis heat and humidity is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced even after living in the south, I disagree that St. Louis is not a swimming town. The area has 3 major clubs that run multi-facility programs and have around 400 swimmers a piece in addition to a handful of smaller clubs. In the Central Section, St. Louis clubs are pretty strong and visible. They would destroy the Kansas City Blazers every year if they combined forces. They have a much larger presence than Omaha clubs who attend the same meet.

Michelle
3 years 8 months ago

Agreed! Local clubs had several swimmers at the 2012 trials and also have quite a few young up and comers who expect to be there in 2016. We woud LOVE to have the trials in STL in 2016!

Joe
3 years 8 months ago

make that 4 major swim clubs

Stl
3 years 8 months ago

St. Louis is the biggest city with a club culture that consistently underachieves. Why should we award my hometown, when high school and summer league are more important. So whoever DM is needs to wake up and smell the coffee and stop living on fantasy island!

dmswim
3 years 8 months ago

I grew up there and knew plenty of people (including myself) who skipped out on summer league and high school to focus on club swimming and once I got to college on the east coast I found that I was the only one on my college team that had done so.

Kimberly
3 years 7 months ago

St. Louis is a humidity town on a very HOT day. Africa is all dry heat. Not sure where that came from. Been here all my life, never experienced Africa in St. Louis. My boys have swam club for 10 years now. We have swam on a team in St. Louis, and moved to a YMCA/USA team in Illinois the last 2 years. We have enjoyed both of them. While I agree that we care alot about baseball, the swimming world has picked up.
St. Louis deserves to have the trials here. Not saying the other cities don’t, but we are in the midwest, in a central location. There would be a warm welcome here in the Gateway City.

Kimberly
3 years 7 months ago

I agree. Host it in the Lou. My son should be in the trials by then. What better way to start your swimming career off right, then to swim the trials in your own city.

Todd
3 years 8 months ago

The St. Louis bid has an interesting edge: You basically won’t have to leave the venue. The competition pool will be in the Edward Jones dome, as will a 50 meter cool down pool. The competition pool and cool down pool will be separated by an on deck spectator stand, from what I hear. The fan zone will be just an underground tunnel away, as will be another 25 yard warm down pool. A big hotel is connected to both facilities by another tunnel, so conceivably you would never have to leave your hotel to attend the meet. Arrive at the airport, take the metro, and you’re there! Though, of course, you would be missing the great Italian and German restaurants in St. Louis, especially the Italian restaurants on “The Hill”, and Ted Drewes frozen custard! There is plenty to do in St. Louis, and if you aren’t the type to want to do those things, well, you don’t have to leave the premise.

Randy
3 years 8 months ago

San Antonio has the Riverwalk, River Center Mall, tons of major hotels and restaurants along the river and its all within walking distance of the Alamodome. Plus, lots of culture 🙂

Michelle
3 years 8 months ago

How can anyone say that St. Louis is not big enough to hold the trials? Much less expensive that those major east/west coast cities – airport is 30 miles from the venue and accessible by light rail. There are hotels enough to hold The World Series baseball games, NCAA basketball & wrestling national championships and gymnastics nationals – the swimming trials would be very similar to those events. TONS of non-swimming stuff to do – Arch, Zoo, Art Museum, Casino, cultural neighborhoods and food – mostly accessible by walking, light rail or a 5-10 minute taxi ride. The heat is a non-issue – the venue will be inside. As far as St. Louis not being a swimming city – they have several elite club swimmers who participated in the trials in 2012 and many more young up and comers not quite at that level yet who expect to be there 2016. My vote is for STL for a change – can’t wait to see who is picked!

Jeff
3 years 8 months ago

StL hosted MLB All Star Game in 2009. StL has hosted the Final Four, Frozen Four and even the Olympics and Worlds fair in 1904 😉

Kimberly
3 years 7 months ago

I agree with everything you said. Having swimmers in my family and being a coach, St. Louis is the way to go.

TheRealQuestion
3 years 8 months ago

Is which city has the best cigar lounges? Omaha certainly has a few, and is quite a cigar friendly town overall. What is an Olympic Trials meet in June without a steak and a fine cigar?

jman
3 years 8 months ago

Uh, healthy?

Rev
3 years 8 months ago

Greensboro has best venue for the athletes with 3 50 meter pools and 2 25 yard pools. 23,000 seat arena for competition, warmup pool built within 75 yds of competition pool, Greensboro Aquatic Center adjacent to the arena which could hold time trials and seats 2500. No other venue can duplicate this.
Arena has hosted ncaa basketball final 4 and regularly hosts East Regionals. Because of hosting these large scale events, there is a huge amount of parking available, tons of hotels within 8 minutes of pool. Greensboro airport is 10 minutes and Charlotte and Raleigh are both 65 minutes away.
Swimming interest is high in NC with 8 2012 US Olympians, 5th most OT qualifiers in 2008 and 2012 and over 8,000 US registered athletes. Summer leagues in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte top over 25,000 alone. Ez drive from Atlanta, Richmond, DC, Columbia, Jacksonville.
NC hosted 1987 US Olympic Festival which was 1st OF to turn a profit. Cities of Greensboro’s size have an advantage in that this will be the biggest game in town, unlike NY or LA. The nearby Charlotte ultraswim is a favorite grand prix stop due to organization and southern hospitatlity.
Still the biggest selling point is that it is the best venue for athletes with the most water and with enough seating that athletes won’t be having to fight for seats or arrive 2 hrs early to save them.
Greensboro looks good!

3 years 8 months ago

Ok, Chicago did not get the 2016 Olympics, but St. Louis getting the swimming trials would be a cool substitute. Swimming in a domed stadium is a bit hard to picture.

Jeff
3 years 8 months ago

Just go to YouTube and look up the Final Four that took place at Ed Jones Dome.

Peeterdeeter aka Steak and a Smoke
3 years 8 months ago

As long as the shops carry some General Snus I’ll pop one in and relax after a steak…wouldn’t even mind coming home smelling like a fine cigar if that were the case. You speak the troof RealQuestion. I like you. Omaha it is!

Peeterdeeter aka Misplaced Enthusiasm
3 years 8 months ago

Comment above meant for TheRealQuestion

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