Olympic swimming trial celebrations kick off on transformed Georgia Street

INDIANAPOLIS – Some of the best swimmers in the world will soon jump off the starting block. And at the end, 52 swimmers will make Team USA and head to Paris.

But it all started with a big party Friday night in downtown Indy.

“It’s great. Just the atmosphere is crazy – like the Eiffel Tower and stuff,” said Luke Tysdal, a fan from Texas.

The Circle City is once again on the world stage, bringing Team USA fans from far and wide up close to Olympic hopefuls.

“We went to the trials three years ago in Omaha and he’s a swimmer so he’s already gotten a few pictures and autographs,” said Deanna Tysdal.

Indiana Sports Corp. estimates the city will see about 200,000 visitors over the next nine days of swimming trials, and what better way to welcome them than with a “starting block party?”

“We want to go above and beyond, show them how Indianapolis takes events to the next level, and get things started with a bang,” said Sam Reel with Indiana Sports Corp.

Just below the 66-foot Eiffel Tower replica at the intersection of Georgia Street and Capitol Avenue, you’ll find a unique, swim-themed mural made of artificial turf – a fitting complement to the very first Olympic pool inside an NFL stadium.

“I think it’s only appropriate that a hundred years ago, the swimming trials were held in Broad Ripple pool here in Indianapolis, and the 1924 Olympics were in Paris, France,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said. “So a hundred years later, we’re recreating the same thing.”

It’s been a big year for sports in Indianapolis so far, one that Mayor Joe Hogsett hopes will further propel the city’s reputation forward.

“I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that we’re on the verge of becoming the world’s sports capital,” Hogsett added.

The rest of the country, at least, is taking notice.

“You’ve got Caitlin Clark here. The Pacers have a great legacy here. The Colts do as well,” said Luke Martens, who traveled from Chicago for the swimming trials. “It’s such a great sports city, probably one of the top five, top ten in America.”

It’s welcome excitement for longtime Hoosiers too.

“Anything that brings more interest and attention to the city, in a positive light, is great,” said Indianapolis resident Cory Sullivan.

Indiana Sports Corp. said tickets are still available and they’re hoping to fill the stadium every day until all 52 Team USA swimmers are named.

“I’m looking forward to the nail-biting finishes. I’m looking forward to people dropping American records, maybe even world records, we’ll just have to see,” Martens added.

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