Today the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials begin in Omaha, Nebraska. Over the next eight days (26th June – 3rd July) approximately 2000 swimmers will race across 26 individual events, hoping to make the possible team of 52 (maximum places available) travelling to Rio De Janeiro later this summer to represent their country. This will be the third consecutive Olympic swimming trials that have been hosted in Omaha, an event that has become notorious for its atmosphere, excitement and fierce competition.
The purpose built temporary pool is once again been constructed in the CenturyLink Center, but for the first time this qualification competition has been sold out with an estimated 200,000 fans attending throughout the week. No doubt this is due to not only the level of the competition, where only two Olympic places are available per event, but also the excitement Omaha has added to the spectacle with the introduction of lights, music, fire and fireworks which only intensifies audience engagement and increases athlete adrenaline. It is refreshing to see the USA recognising the need to move the sport on and make the event more of a showcase to develop new intrigue and interest in what is still a less mainstream sport. (more…)