JACKSONVILLE, Florida, March 5. WITH the announcement of the city lucky enough to host the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials expected to come in less than two months, officials working to make Jacksonville an attractive city to USA Swimming announced that the Florida city is no longer in the running.
Citing a low number of spectator seating available for the competition in the Veterans Memorial Arena, Alan Verlander, executive director of Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment, told the Florida Times-Union that seating could only reach 12,000. The seating capacity at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., where the Trials was held in 2008 and 2012, reached 14,000.
“We're very disappointed; we put a lot of work into this bid,” Verlander said. “But there are things like venue size that are out of our control.”
Though the Veterans Memorial Arena seats about 15,000 during normal events, about 2,000 seats would need to be removed to accommodate construction of the competition pool. This was the same plan used in Omaha.
The announcement leaves five cities contesting for the 2016 Trials: Greensboro, N.C., Indianapolis, Ind., Omaha; St. Louis, Mo.; and San Antonio, Texas.