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Minnesota, Indianapolis pushing to host '24 Olympic swim trials

U.S. Olympic swimming trials have expanded beyond a low-key event into a two-week moneymaker that gets wall-to-wall TV coverageGETTY IMAGES

Minnesota Sports and Events (MNSE) leaders flew to Omaha last week "at the behest of USA Swimming" during the Tokyo Games trials "to make their pitch about how they could put on a bigger, better event," according to Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. In recent years, the swimming trials in Omaha have "expanded beyond a low-key event into a two-week moneymaker that attracts 2,000 swimmers, sells out 14,000 seats nightly and gets wall-to-wall television coverage." As such, USA Swimming "saw growth potential and courted other cities." USA Swimming officials "had already scoped out U.S. Bank Stadium by visiting during the men's NCAA Final Four" in '18. In Omaha, the Minnesota crew included Vikings Exec VP/Public Affairs Lester Bagley, Sports Minneapolis Dir Matt Meunier and U.S. Bank Stadium Assistant GM Ann Dunne. The group "doesn't expect to find out whether they won the bid until after the Olympics in Tokyo this summer." But during the Omaha event, some local and national media reports suggested "Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis would be the site" of the '24 trials. Putting the event in U.S. Bank Stadium "would expand the live audience capacity to 26,000." Organizers are confident they can "transform the 66,000-plus seat football stadium into both an intimate venue and national showcase and boost profits for swimming" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/20).

INDIANAPOLIS BID: In Indianapolis, David Woods noted Indianapolis is one of four finalists to be the site of the '24 trials, along with "Omaha, St. Louis and Minneapolis." An Indianapolis contingent of seven people, including Indiana Sports Corp President Ryan Vaughn and Lucas Oil Stadium Dir Eric Neuburger, visited Omaha this week to "become familiar with organization of the trials and ancillary events." The set-up in Indianapolis "would resemble that of Omaha, which has three temporary pools at the CHI Health Center, home of Creighton basketball." Indianapolis' proposed capacity is "30,000 to 35,000." The layout would "mimic the recent Final Four, with 50-meter pools in place of basketball floors." The "largest crowd for Olympic swimming was 25,000 at Berlin in 1936," so 35,000  "would be the most for a swim meet" held indoors (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/18).

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