INDIANAPOLIS, Ind, February 6. EIGHT months out from the first World Swimming Championships ever to be held in the United States, plans are well underway among local organizers intent on producing a spectacular event that will elevate the sport of swimming to a new level.
The event will certainly take swimming into a new venue. Indianapolis’s magnificent Conseco Fieldhouse, home to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, will be the setting for the 7th FINA World Championships (25 meters), Oct. 7-11, 2004.
An eight-lane, 300,000-gallon competition pool and a six-lane, 175,000-gallon warm-up pool will be constructed on the floor of the fieldhouse. The Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI also will serve as a training venue.
More than 600 swimmers, many of them fresh from Olympic competition in Athens, Greece, just six weeks before, are expected to compete. They will be representing more than 100 countries. Already committed to competing are American stars Michael Phelps, Jenny Thompson, Lindsay Benko and Josh Davis.
Volunteer leaders of the Local Organizing Committee have been meeting for the past 18 months to plan and organize seven operational areas: administration; community programs; marketing and ticket sales; media, broadcast and communications; operations; participant services and technical meet operations.
“Inside the venue, we are confident that we will produce a world-class swimming experience for both the athletes and spectators unlike any they have ever had before,” said Joe DeGroff, chairman of the LOC and an attorney for the Indianapolis firm Ice Miller. “Outside the venue, the athletes and visitors will experience the incredible convenience of downtown Indianapolis, where hotels, shopping, dining, nightlife and attractions are only a short walk away.”
Ancillary events during the competition include the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) World Clinic and the FINA Sports Medicine Congress
The World Championships are owned and sanctioned by FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports. Indiana Sports Corporation is the local host, in cooperation with USA Swimming and United States Aquatic Sports.
Conseco Fieldhouse, whose capacity for basketball is 18,345, will be reconfigured to seat approximately 10,000 spectators for the finals sessions during the World Championships.
Athletes will stay in downtown hotels, and be able to use an Athletes’ Village in the Grand Hall of Union Station, just two blocks from Conseco Fieldhouse.
Plans are also underway to welcome an international media contingent with approximately 200 journalists and broadcasters expected to attend.
ESPN and ESPN2 will provide 16-1/2 hours of coverage, with some of the competition shown live. International broadcasts will carry the event worldwide to more than 100 countries.
“We are eager to welcome journalists from around the USA and the world,” said Danita Edwards, chairperson for Media, Broadcast & Communications. “For those who have been to Indianapolis before for events, they will come with high expectations and we intend to meet those expectations. For those who haven’t been to the city before, we will do everything possible to make them welcome and facilitate their coverage of the Championships.”