All Lanes Lead to Indy for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials!

Pool for 2024 Olympic Swimming Trials

Photo courtesy of Indiana Sports Corp

If you’ve ever been to Indianapolis, you know Indy is one of the best sports cities in the world—home to 8 professional sports teams, the NCAA Headquarters, and the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” That phrase brings out goosebumps, reminding the world of our connection to speed and our passion for competition.

But in 2024, the racing won’t stop with the checkered flag! Less than a month after the Indy 500, Indianapolis will host one of the most competitive sporting events of the year: the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials!

Indianapolis actually held the Swimming Trials back in 1924—the last time Paris hosted the Olympic Games. Now, 100 years later, the Trials have returned to Indy to nominate the next team heading to Paris. Only this time, it will be the biggest swim meet in the history of the sport!

And “biggest” is no exaggeration. For the first time ever, the Olympic Swimming Trials will be held in a football stadium, more than doubling the seating capacity of past events. USA Swimming partnered with Indiana Sports Corp to install Olympic-sized pools in Lucas Oil Stadium, so up to 30,000 people can witness each session.  

As I write this article, fire trucks are pumping over 860,000 gallons of water into three pools that have replaced the Colts home turf. This installation is an incredible feat of construction that started on May 11, giving them less than a month to finish before the test meet in June. 

But in the end, this hard work will translate to a spectacular event unlike any other. From June 15–23, the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials will feature nine days of jam-packed action and some of the world’s best swimmers!

Hoosier swimmers posing at the One Year Out event

Indiana is one of the top states for swimming.

It may seem odd that Indiana is one of the best “swimming states” in the country. After all, we’re completely landlocked besides Lake Michigan, and our state prioritizes many different sports—none bigger than basketball. 

But swimming has produced some of the most successful athletes in Hoosier history. Many of the sport’s best-ranked high school teams call Indiana home, including squads out of Carmel, Zionsville, and Chesterton just to name a few. 

“Indiana is a special swimming state because the sport is a priority, and most kids have access to pools and programs,” said Jake Lucheon, Founder of Swim Bridge Buoys. “Swimming has a rich history here. Most [Indiana] high schools have their own pool, and many have 50-meter Olympic size pools. In other states, many high schools all share one pool.”

Lucheon has seen our statewide success firsthand, as he provides gear to swimming programs all across Indiana. His company, Swim Bridge Buoys, supplies kick-out sticks to help swimmers train and strengthen their performance. But Lucheon’s primary spot remains the Carmel Swim Club—one of Indiana’s strongest swimming programs.

Carmel has a long history of success in swimming, and nothing says that more than the 38-year State Championship streak held by the Lady Greyhounds. In fact, Head Coach Chris Plumb is the winningest coach in Indiana state history with 31 state titles—including 18 with the girls team and 13 with the boys team. 

“There are high expectations here in Indiana to swim fast,” Lucheon said. “Everyone wants to be better and continue the tradition of fast swimming. Carmel Swim Club has had immense success. Other clubs are chasing them, and that leads to everyone being better in the process.”

In Progress Pool in Lucas Oil Stadium
Workers building the pool in Lucas Oil Stadium

The Olympic Trials are more than just a swim meet. 

On top of putting an Olympic-sized pool in Lucas Oil Stadium, there will be a number of different events going on simultaneously throughout the nine-day competition.

“The top priority is always the main event and the athlete experience,” said Sarah Myer, Chief of Staff & Strategy at Indiana Sports Corp. “But we also prioritize the fan experience and community engagement. It’s not just the events in the stadium. It’s an entire experience—from the competition, to the downtown [experience], to the neighborhoods.”

Other than the swimming sessions at Lucas Oil, fans can explore the Toyota Aqua Zone at the Indiana Convention Center, as well as USA Swimming LIVE presented by Purdue University on Georgia Street. These fan experiences will elevate the event and turn downtown Indy into a citywide swimming festival. 

Most importantly, all of these events and activities will be completely FREE and will include live music, entertainment, and family-friendly things to do all week long.

“When we bid on the Olympic Swimming Trials, we bid with the intent to help USA Swimming take this to the next level, as Indy typically does with any sporting event,” Myer said. “Swimming is the only sport that can save your life, so we see the need for this kind of access. And it’s great to spread awareness around water safety throughout the Trials.”

Indiana Sports Corp saw this as an opportunity to take the Trials to the next level and help create meaningful impact around water safety and access. One of the biggest legacy projects associated with the event is the Swim IN Safety initiative, presented by Lilly. By 2024, this program hopes to train 50,000 Hoosiers across the state to be swim-safe, helping raise awareness around this life-saving skill.

“I can’t wait to see people in awe of the 66-foot Eiffel Tower we’re building downtown, families enjoying live music on Georgia Street, or meeting Olympians inside the Toyota Aqua Zone. Anytime I think about that first finals competition on June 15, I get chills!”

- Sarah Myer, Chief of Staff & Strategy at Indiana Sports Corp

Hosting spectacular sporting events is the Indy way.

Calling 2024 a “busy” year for Indianapolis would be an understatement. Between hosting the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, the first round of March Madness, and the Indianapolis 500, the city has had several events on its plate.

But Indianapolis has pioneered a best-in-class model for hosting large-scale events—a model that starts with hundreds of dedicated volunteers. A great example is David Lewis, President of DPL Advisory & Investments LLC and former Vice President of Global Taxes for Eli Lilly and Company.

Over the past two decades, Lewis has led efforts to raise nearly $28M for the 2012 Super Bowl, $2M for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, and $25M through the Indy Championships Fund for the 2024 All-Star Weekend. 

“It has been my great honor to be asked—repeatedly over 16 years—to step into the enormous shoes of a generation of civic leaders, who previously raised extraordinary amounts of money to support marquee events that defined the past 40 years of Indianapolis [history],” Lewis said.

In Lewis’ experience, Indy continues to be one of the world’s best host cities because we bring together exceptional organizing committees that “demolish expectations, setting new and higher standards” for each event. As he says, the proof is in the pudding. 

“Our volunteer capability far exceeds that which any city can easily achieve. Our community turns out,” Lewis said. “We consistently meet and raise all funding necessary to deliver these extraordinary events through the generosity of local businesses, not-for-profits, and individuals.”

Indianapolis succeeds because so many people are willing to give their time and money to executing these events. Lewis explained that when you’re a reliable volunteer, you get asked to help again. And as an Indianapolis native, there’s no bigger compliment. 

Man learning to swim at a lesson
Child smiling and posing with an OlympiKids doll

Cheer for our hometown heroes on the Road to Paris!

Having the Olympic Swimming Trials in Indianapolis also puts a spotlight on local athletes, who have gone from small-town Hoosiers to world-class Olympians. Carmel, Indiana, will have a number of athletes past and present competing at the Trials, including several who could head to Paris at the end of July. 

Drew Kibler and Jake Mitchell—both 2021 Tokyo Olympians—will be racing for their second Olympic team berth this year. Kibler and Mitchell were Carmel’s first Olympians, making the team in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay and 400m Freestyle respectively.

But the list of Carmel’s Olympic hopefuls doesn’t stop there. Aaron and Alex Shackell, a brother-sister duo currently training with the Carmel Swim Club, are both ranked in the top six nationally for their primary events.

Additionally, Carmel alumni Kelly Pash and Berit Berglund were semifinalists at the 2021 Olympic Swimming Trials and part of University of Texas’ runner-up squad at the 2024 NCAA meet. Both Longhorns will be fighting for another chance at an Olympic berth come this June.

“Indianapolis really is the Amateur Sports Capital of the World and to have a meet of this caliber in our hometown is truly wonderful,” said Chris Plumb, Head Coach and CEO of Carmel Swim Club. “Drew and Jake demonstrated that you can make the Olympic Team from Carmel Swim Club, and that bolsters our current athletes’ belief.”

Carmel juniors Kayla Han and Molly Sweeney also have Olympic Trials standards and will be two of the youngest competitors at the meet. Han competed for Team USA at the 2024 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, while Sweeney was a part of the U.S. World Junior Team last summer.

In addition to our Carmel athletes, there will be several other Hoosiers competing at the Olympic Swimming Trials, including Fishers’ native Luke Whitlock and Irish Aquatics’ Lily Christianson. Whitlock was also a member of the World Junior Team, and Christianson placed 11th at last summer’s World Championship Trials in the 50m Freestyle.

So, if you’re looking for someone to root for, there are plenty of local Hoosiers fighting for a spot on the 2024 Olympic Team!

All Lanes Lead to Indy Float during the 500 Festival

The U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials are right around the corner!

With live music, elite competition, and many once-in-a-lifetime events, the 2024 Olympic Swimming Trials are sure to be the star of the summer. From June 15 to June 23, there will be swim sessions happening every day and night, as well as family-friendly activities at Georgia Street and the Aqua Zone. 

Visitors and residents alike can even dine underneath a replica Eiffel Tower—built to celebrate the talented athletes on the Road to Paris this year. This tower will be installed on Georgia Street, creating a relaxed atmosphere where you can grab a picnic blanket, sit beneath the tower, and watch local artists at work.  

“I can’t wait to see people in awe of the 66-foot Eiffel Tower we’re building downtown, families enjoying live music on Georgia Street, or meeting Olympians inside the Toyota Aqua Zone,” said Sarah Myer. “Anytime I think about that first finals competition on June 15, I get chills—and how awesome is it that we get to make that happen right here in Indy?”

Tickets are available now, running as low as $15 a person for some single-session tickets. Just be sure to check the schedule and see what events and themed days are happening throughout the nine-day event. 

Daytime swim sessions from 11 AM to 1 PM will feature a variety of prelim heats in both men’s and women’s events. Meanwhile, the evening sessions from 8 PM to 10 PM are exclusively for finals and semifinals—with Olympians named to Team USA every night!