Olympic Trials

2016 Olympic Trials Time Standards and Dates

Qualifying time standards for the 2016 Olympic Trials will be announced Thursday, September 18, at 2 p.m. EDT, via a live webcast from the United States Aquatic Sports Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. It can be viewed via usaswimming.org/trials 

USA Swimming, in collaboration with the United States Olympic Committee and the Omaha Sports Commission, announced the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming will be held Sunday, June 26, through Sunday, July 3, 2016, in Omaha, Nebraska, at the CenturyLink Center Omaha.

A Note About Hotels for 2016 Trials

Updated April 6, 2015

Hotels for the 2016 Olympic Trials in Omaha will open to the public for reservations on June 29, 2015 at 10 a.m. central time. Sales for all-session tickets will also begin at this time and will range in price from $350 to $550. Four-day packages and daily tickets will go on sale at a later date. Additional information will be posted at usaswimming.org.          

2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Return to Omaha

USA Swimming, in collaboration with the United States Olympic Committee, announced in April of 2013 that Omaha, Neb., has been selected as the host city for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming.


The 2016 Olympic Trials ranks as the biggest swimming event in the country and will select the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swim Team, which will represent Team USA in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The competition will take place at the CenturyLink Center Omaha and that dates will soon become available on www.usaswimming.org/trials

For the first time, the host city selection was announced via a live webcast from the USA Swimming Board of Directors Meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo. The USA Swimming Board approved the selection of Omaha as host city today prior to the live announcement. 

“We are thrilled to bring Olympic Trials back to Omaha in 2016,” said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming executive director. “The Olympic Trials is a spectacular event, offering a great experience for our athletes, fans, families and coaches. Trials is our sport’s signature event and in announcing Omaha as the 2016 host city today, we are lighting the fuse for literally hundreds of thousands of young swimmers who will be setting their sights on qualifying to participate in the greatest swimming event in the country.”

The 2016 bid city evaluation period opened in January 2013 and included site visits to six finalist locations. An internal evaluation team from USA Swimming, along with a member of the USA Swimming board, visited each location and selected finalists from the group. Three finalist cities were announced at the end of March and included Omaha, Nebraska, St. Louis, Missouri and San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to reviewing the bids and making site visits, this team asked follow-up questions of each city and evaluated all information and responses before ultimately making a recommendation to Wielgus, the USA Swimming Board of Directors and the USOC.

“On behalf of the Omaha Sports Commission, the citizens and corporations of Omaha, I wish to thank USA Swimming and the USOC for having the confidence in our abilities to deliver the goods for a third consecutive Trials,” said Harold Cliff, president of the Omaha Sports Commission. "We are ecstatic for the opportunity to host the world’s best swimmers in their quest to represent Team USA in Rio 2016.”

Two temporary 50-meter pools for Trials will be installed by Myrtha Pools in the CentruryLink Center Omaha, the state-of-the-art, 17,000-seat sports and entertainment venue in downtown Omaha. The convention center will once again serve as the home for the award-winning, 100,000 square-foot USA Swimming Aqua Zone, a sponsor and fan experience area.

USA Swimming is coming off a year in which it saw its most successful Trials event in history. The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming, held in Omaha, Neb., saw over 164,000 fans in attendance and the eight days of competition were broadcast LIVE on NBC television every night. 

The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming was also nominated in the category of “Sports Event of the Year” for the illustrious Sports Business Awards. Olympic Trials is in the company of three other major sporting events, including the Ryder Cup, the Stanley Cup Finals and the United States Grand Prix. The winner will be announced next month.

Since 2004, USA Swimming has consistently expanded the reach of the Olympic Trials. Attendance numbers have soared; and the Aqua Zone, a fan and sponsor experience area, has grown to bring swimming to a wider audience. T

he U.S. Olympic Team Trials for all sports is a collaborative, three-way partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee, the National Governing Bodies and the local organizing committee.

Watkins: Olympic Swim Trials Belong in Omaha

A fireworks scene from the 2008 Trials in Omaha.

By Mike Watkins//Correspondent

Having lived in San Antonio and visited St. Louis numerous times (Rams football, NCAA basketball, etc.), I know they’re both great cities for sports.

As recent finalists to host the 2016 Olympic Swim Trials, either would have been a great choice because of their histories with national sporting events – but what Omaha offered as host city of the past two Trials has been unparalleled. USA Swimming and the USOC recognized those attributes, and as was announced in April of 2013, chose Omaha to host a third-straight Trials in 2016.

The year I lived in San Antonio, the city hosted the Men’s NCAA Final Four and did a fantastic job of welcoming everyone to town. Add in all the fantastic things to do within walking distance of the Alamodome (especially the famous River Walk), and it’s a sport fan’s dream come true in many ways.
The same can be said about St. Louis, home to NFL and MLB teams as well as a regular host for NCAA events. The times I’ve been to St. Louis for sports, I’ve always had a great time. Logistically speaking, the city is easy to traverse, people are friendly and there’s a lot to do when you’re not sitting in the stands.
But when it comes to hosting an event, few cities (and their corporate partners, business owners, cabbies, citizens on the street, etc.) do a better job than Omaha did the past two Olympic Swim Trials. I honestly can’t think of a better environment for the organization’s signature meet. The swimming community is a very close-knit group, and the intimate nature of the Trials in Omaha is one of the big selling points of its return.
Maybe I’m a little biased (I live across the river in Iowa and work in Omaha), but I’ve never seen a city embrace a sporting event like Omahans (as well as nearby cities and towns) did at last year’s Trials. After embracing the 2008 Trials, most people in town were already familiar with swimming and its many stars – so when the event returned, they had a much better understanding and appreciation for the sport.
When you factor in the proximity of hotels, restaurants and shopping (as well as other events, including the College World Series at nearby TD Ameritrade Park) to the CenturyLink Arena, it’s an ideal setting for the meet that decides the U.S. Olympic Team.
For these reasons (like I said, I’m a bit biased but not wrong), I’m ecstatic (and so is the rest of the city) to welcome everyone back for a third Olympic Trials in 2016. The event last summer was the best so far.
Having had a trial run in 2008, the Omaha organizing committee blew the doors off of last year’s meet in terms of showmanship, facility functionality and volunteer participation. I honestly don’t think it could have been better – and that was the general consensus of the athletes, coaches and family I spoke with during the event, many of whom were in town for Trials four years earlier.
They all loved the relaxed, comfortable atmosphere of the Trials and especially appreciated how easy it was to get around town – by foot and/or car. Getting to and from practice and races was a piece of cake compared to other cities where hotels aren’t very close and traffic creates a constant struggle.
The numbers speak for themselves. The 2008 Trials were the most successful in USA Swimming’s history – until the 2012 event surpassed it. More than 164,000 fans attended the eight days and nights of competition, and the Trials were broadcast LIVE on NBC every night. 

The 2012 Trials were nominated in the category of “Sports Event of the Year” for the illustrious Sports Business Awards. 

I worked the Trials in 2008 for several newspapers and websites but purposely chose to volunteer my time helping USA Swimming in various capacities last year – and I completely enjoyed the experience. Having been through one Trials in Omaha, everything was wonderfully familiar and comfortable – and I can only imagine that will be the case in 2016 (which really isn’t that far off).

After coming close last year, I’m excited to see up-and-comers like Ryan Murphy and Becca Mann (among many others) take that next step toward making their first Olympic team. By 2016, they will be among the veterans of the sport – completing the swimming cycle that saw them as teenagers in 2012. And there are always new names and faces to marvel at once they dive into the water.


It’s difficult to imagine the Omaha Sports Commission can do anything to top 2012t, but in bidding for the 2016 Trials, they promised new and innovative options to make the next Trials even better, highlighted by the installation of a new $6 million center-hung high-definition scoreboard. I’m excited to see what other enhancements and improvements are coming, but like everyone else, I’ll have to wait a few more years.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes open for new and exciting changes and developments in town as the city prepares to welcome everyone back again. 
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