USA Swimming Announces 2020 Olympic Trials Will Return to Omaha

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

USA Swimming has announced that the 2020 Olympic Trials will return to the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., for the fourth time.

The facility, typically the home of Creighton University’s Division I men’s basketball program, will again seat 13,000-plus fans for eight days of swimming, as it has for the Olympic Trials in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

“USA Swimming has had great success in the city of Omaha,” USA Swimming interim CEO Mike Unger said. “If you could have predicted the amount of success we’ve had in this city and in this venue, you would have been crazy. It’s been awesome for this sport and the city of Omaha.”

“On behalf of the Omaha Sports Commission, I can’t tell you how excited we are to bring a fourth straight U.S. Swim Trials to Omaha,” Omaha Sports Commission President Chris Kircher said. “While today’s agreement reflects a lot of hard work, months of discussion, it also reflects the strength of the partnership the Omaha Sports Commission has with USA Swimming. The late Chuck Wielgus, who we’ll miss greatly, was a great person to partner with. It’s upon that foundation that we continue forward.”

“The folks associated with USA Swimming were making the point that this really prepares our swimmers to go the Olympics,” Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts said. “Omaha is a great sports town, it is a great venue to host events like this, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have the 2020 Olympic Swim Trials coming back to Omaha.

The Trials will be held June 21-28, 2017, a few days earlier than the 2016 Trials (June 26-July 3) due to the Tokyo Olympics beginning earlier (July 25) than those in Rio (Aug. 6). Unger indicated that USA Swimming expects all eight nights of the meet to be broadcast live on NBC Sports channels.

“This is the perfect setup for us, with the warmup pool right next door, the competition pool right behind us and a city so compact,” Unger said. “It is the perfect city for us.”

USA Swimming announced the news in a Facebook Live video at 11:30 a.m. central time Monday.

Read the full press release from USA Swimming below:

Following sustained, record-setting growth since 2008, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming will return to Omaha for the fourth consecutive occasion in 2020, USA Swimming, the United States Olympic Committee and the Omaha Sports Commission announced today.

Held every four years, the Olympic Trials rank as the most prestigious swimming event in the United States. The 2020 Olympic Trials, scheduled for June 21-28, will serve as the sole selection meet for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team, which will represent Team USA in the pool competition in Tokyo, Japan. The Trials competition will again be held at the state-of-the-art CenturyLink Center Omaha.

The USA Swimming Board of the Directors approved the selection of Omaha as host city during its meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last weekend.

“Bringing the Olympic Trials back to Omaha has always been our priority, as the city of Omaha, the Omaha Sports Commission and the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority have worked diligently to make this arguably the best swimming event in the world and one of the premier events in all of sports,” USA Swimming Interim Chief Executive Officer Mike Unger said. “The CenturyLink Center Omaha venue, surrounding facilities, hotels and restaurants provide the ideal set-up for coaches and athletes from a competition perspective and also to showcase the sport to fans. Omaha has done a tremendous job welcoming our swimmers, coaches, fans and families with open arms.”

The 2016 Olympic Trials eclipsed all previous attendance marks with nearly 200,000 spectators across 15 sold-out sessions – in a 14,500 seat venue – and a 30 percent increase in tickets sold over 2012. More than 36 million television viewers watched live primetime coverage from the eight nights of Trials on NBC, and the event generated more than $74 million in economic impact for the city of Omaha.

Last summer’s Trials featured a number of memorable performances, highlighted by Michael Phelps clinching a spot on his fifth U.S. Olympic Team and Katie Ledecky winning Trials titles in three freestyle events. Buoyed by their success in Omaha, Team USA went on to win 33 total medals – 16 of them gold – at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Olympic Swim Trials back to Omaha in 2020,” said Chris Kircher, Chairman, Omaha Sports Commission. “The Swim Trials has become one of the nation’s premier sporting events, and we are honored that Omaha will, once again, provide a home base for its success.  We are grateful not only for the City’s active role in helping make this happen, but also for the pledge of support that we’ve received from the County, State, private and philanthropic sources.”

“The vision of the Omaha Sports Commission has been to make Omaha a premier sports community. With established community support for amateur athletics and world-class facilities, like the CenturyLink Center Omaha, we have the unique capability of hosting large, complex events,” said Wes Hall, President, Omaha Sports Commission. “The 2020 Olympic Swim Trials will further enhance Omaha’s image as one of the nation’s great sports communities, and we want to thank USA Swimming for their long-time partnership and commitment to bring it back to Omaha.”

“The City of Omaha and our citizens have shown tremendous support of the Swim Trials, the athletes, coaches and fans that come to Omaha from around the country. We’re thrilled that USA Swimming has selected Omaha for the fourth time,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “The CenturyLink Center Omaha is the ideal venue for this event, and we can’t wait for Omaha to be in the national spotlight again.”

Over the course of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials, more than 520,000 spectators have enjoyed the country’s top swimming competition.

Once again in 2020, two temporary 50-meter pools for Trials will be installed by Myrtha Pools in the CenturyLink Center Omaha, the state-of-the-art, 17,000-seat sports and entertainment venue in downtown Omaha. The convention center will serve as the home for the award-winning, 100,000 square-foot USA Swimming Aqua Zone, a sponsor and fan experience area. More than 100,000 spectators visited the Aqua Zone in 2016, and the USA Swimming House – a hospitality hub that sold out every night – debuted last summer.

Olympic Trials by the Numbers

4 – number of times Omaha will host U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming

35 – interactive experiences at 2016 Aqua Zone

1,800 – approximate number of athletes who competed in 2016 Trials

14,500 – capacity for 2016 event, which sold out for all 15 sessions

100,000 – total number of spectators to enjoy the 2016 Aqua Zone

200,000 – attendance for the 2016 event, a new record that surpassed 2012 total by 30 percent

520,000 – number of spectators combined at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Trials at CLC Omaha

36 million – number of viewers who watched NBC’s live coverage in 2016

8 Comments

8 comments

  1. Amie Krueger

    Reese Fralin Michael Fralin…. we shud bring the kids!
    June 2020

  2. Megan Palera Myers

    Jen Beck Elizabeth Chentland mark your calendars! I’ll be making a return visit 🙂

  3. Kristen Townsend

    Sarah Groth this would be an awesome experience! Wish I was closer to come and watch. 🙂

  4. Summer Rae

    Jody Johnson Ashley Peterson

  5. avatar
    John Hensler

    Article says trials are in 2017. “The Trials will be held June 21-28, 2017”

    I think it is meant to be 2020.

Author: David Rieder

avatar
David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

Current Swimming World Issue


Trouble Viewing on Smart Phones, Tablets or iPads? Click Here