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Transforming Lucas Oil Stadium Into a Swimming Oasis for the U.S. Olympic Trials

Shana Ferguson found herself on the pool deck in Omaha, Neb., during the U.S. Olympic Trials three years ago, looking out at the massive crowd of over 12,000 enthusiastic swimming fans. Despite being thrilled, she couldn’t help but dream even bigger.

“What would this look like in a football stadium?” Ferguson pondered.

Fast forward three years, after numerous discussions involving electrical engineering, plumbing, and drainage, Ferguson, along with her team at USA Swimming, is about to launch the most significant swimming event in the United States, with an expected record-breaking attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials, taking place from June 15-23, will be held in a football stadium for the first time, potentially attracting close to 30,000 spectators, surpassing previous records.

Aiming for an unparalleled experience for the athletes and fans, the event promises to be a spectacle like no other. The construction of the pools, with Myrtha Pools and Spear Corp. taking the lead and Dodd Technologies managing various aspects, has been a challenging yet rewarding process.

With the competition pool, warmup pools, and elaborate decking in place, organizers are ready to deliver a unique swimming experience on a grand scale.

The event seeks to cater to the growing demand for swimming competitions, evolving with each Olympic cycle. From small natatoriums to basketball arenas and now a football stadium, USA Swimming is adapting to meet the needs of its expanding audience.

The main pool is shown under construction at Lucas Oil Stadium, with temporary seating to the left and the warmup pool structure beyond that. (Photo courtesy of USA Swimming)

Lucas Oil Stadium’s setup will accommodate a large crowd, with unique seating arrangements and theme nights. Partnering with local sports teams will help attract new fans to the swimming event, creating a lively atmosphere.

The grandeur of the event will be enhanced by state-of-the-art technology, including a massive video board and center-hung scoreboard, elevating the spectator experience to new heights.

As top swimmers strive to secure their spots in Paris, the electricity in the stadium is expected to be palpable, with fans and athletes alike feeding off each other’s energy.

The convenience of having warmup pools adjacent to the competition pool will improve the overall experience for participants, ensuring smoother transitions between warmups and races.

Behind the scenes, athletes will have access to various amenities, from quiet areas to therapy dogs, catering to their well-being amidst the excitement of the event.

Lucas Oil Stadium rendering

An artist’s rendering of the finished product, complete with fans. Lucas Oil Stadium will be the first football stadium to host swimming’s U.S. Olympic Trials. (Courtesy of USA Swimming)

(Top illustration: Dan Goldfarb / The Athletic; photos: Courtesy of USA Swimming, Michael Allio / Icon Sportswire via Getty)


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