Visitors say swim trials in Indianapolis were ‘Bigger and better’ than expected

INDIANAPOLIS — The president of USA Swimming, Tim Hinchey, has credited Indianapolis with taking the Olympic swim trials to the next level. After Lucas Oil Stadium became the first NFL venue to hold an Olympic-size pool, the Circle City’s reputation as a trend-setter was cemented.

An announcement came Friday that 2028 Olympic swimming events will be held at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

The trials in Indianapolis drew tens of thousands of visitors from across the country, and some of them said Indy’s memorable level of commitment is what takes major events up another notch.

“It’s bigger and better than I think we ever anticipated,” said Jim Heinz, a native Hoosier and Florida resident of over 40 years. “We’re proud of our Indiana roots, very much so.”

It’s safe to say the Circle City is doing laps around the competition.

“Omaha did a great job, and we enjoyed our time there,” said Adam Calonder, a swimming fan from Iowa. “But this is just a little bigger, a little grander, and this whole outdoor-indoor environment around the area is all about swimming.”

Visitors have been wowed by the Georgia Street festivities and Eiffel Tower replica, and downtown Indianapolis has been buzzing for almost a week.

“You don’t get to see a lot of swimming like you do college basketball or football,” said Adelina Smith, a swimming fan from North Carolina. “I feel like it’s so cool to get to come here and have a full week devoted to swimming and see a state that’s so prideful in all of its swimmers.”

Hinchey agrees with Smith’s sentiment.

“Once you take something to the next level, it’s hard to go backwards,” Hinchey said. “So, I think we’ve set an expectation.”

Although he couldn’t say whether the trials would return to Indy in the future, he made one thing clear — ticket sales have been strong, and he’s liked what he’s seen so far.

“I feel like, for the first time in a long time, our sport got the red carpet treatment here as hosts,” Hinchey said.

Visit Indy says it’s too soon to estimate the full economic impact of the past week, but downtown hotels have been nearly sold out, and all metrics of tourism are up, significantly.

“We feel like we’ve exceeded expectations, yet we know we can’t sit idle,” said Chris Gahl, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Visit Indy. “For this event to continue to be successful, for USA Swimming to continue to think about Indianapolis — we want them leaving wanting more.”

Hinchey also told reporters the organization plans to use what they’ve learned here in Indianapolis during this record-breaking round of trials to continue growing the sport moving forward.

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