Indianapolis has been eliminated as a candidate to host the 2016 U.S. Olympic swimming trials, the Indiana Sports Corp. announced Tuesday afternoon.
The city has hosted the trials four previous times — in 1984, 1992, 1996 and 2000 — in the 4,200-seat IU Natatorium at IUPUI, but was bidding to hold the event at the 63,000-seat Lucas Oil Stadium in 2016.
Colorado-based USA Swimming cited challenges with the facility for turning down the bid.
"Lucas Oil Stadium is a fabulous facility and while the space is flexible to accommodate a number of sports and events other than football, it has proven to be challenging for creating an intimate swimming setting around the pool at this time,” USA Swimming Assistant Executive Director Mike Unger saidf in a prepared statement. “USA Swimming has enjoyed an excellent partnership with Indiana Sports Corp, working hand-in-hand with them on many events. We look forward to that partnership continuing with future events."
Officials for Visit Indy, the city’s tourism arm and a partner on the bid, projected the 2016 Olympic Swimming Trials could generate at least 21,500 hotel room nights and have an economic impact in excess of $30 million, putting it on par with the city’s three biggest conventions.
St. Louis; San Antonio; Greensboro, N.C.; Omaha, Neb.; and Jacksonville, Fla., also were named finalists to host the trials. Jacksonville withdrew its bid early this month.
Indianapolis used Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host a world championship swimming event in 2004, but the facility can't accomodate two 50-meter pools, which is a must for the Olympic trials.
“We are obviously disappointed that we will not host the Olympic Swimming Trials, and we would like to thank our great partner USA Swimming for the way they have handled this bid process and communicating this decision to us,” said Allison Melangton, Indiana Sports Corp. president, in a written statement.
Indianapolis has several other major swimming events on its calendar, including the NCAA Division I women’s and men’s championships later this month and the Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Trials, set for June 25-29 at the IU Natatorium.