Splash - May/June 2012 - (Page 6)
Splash caught up with USA Swimming Executive Director chuck Wielgus to get his thoughts on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska
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Since 2000, USA Swimming has seen big changes when it comes to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. What would you say has been the biggest change over the years? USA Swimming has taken what was always an awesome swim meet and turned it into a major sports spectacle. After the 2000 Olympic Trials, we realized that to grow the event we would need to build a pool around the event and no longer build the event around a pool. We were thrilled with how the 2004 Olympic Trials turned out in Long Beach, and we kept the event growing with the move to an indoor arena with the 2008 Olympic Trials in Omaha. I’m proud to say that our Trials have turned into a spectator event that accommodated over 160,000 fans throughout the eight-day competition in 2008. Today, people around the country see our sport in a much bigger way than they did a decade ago. What can swim fans in expect to experience this summer in Omaha? The U.S. Olympic Trials will be the most competitive swimming competition ever held in our country. It’s also a spectacular show for sports fans – from the fireworks and the water wall to the lights and music and overall energy inside the venue, Trials is a swim meet like no other in the United States for both the participants and the fans. NBC’s primetime coverage of the Olympic Swim Trials in 2012 is expected to be bigger than ever. Why have the swimming trials become so attractive to TV viewers at home? Our sport today is loaded with incredible athletes with great stories and personalities. From athletes like Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin to Ryan Lochte and Rebecca Soni, swimming is filled with athletes whose stories resonate with viewers at home. In 2012, NBC will broadcast our Olympic Trials live every night of competition on NBC or NBC Sports Network. The expanded coverage of Olympic Trials helps viewers at home connect even more with the top swimmers that will go on weeks later to represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games. Olympic Trials is a fantastic meet from top to bottom. Can you talk about some of the special touches? All I’ll say right now is that as great as the Trials were in 2008, they’ll be even better this time around. Fans, spectators and viewers will be blown away! USA Swimming’s Aqua Zone is the ultimate experience for swim fans. Have any changes been made to the Aqua Zone for 2012? The Aqua Zone in 2008 gave swim fans the experience of a lifetime. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to engage with our sport, meet our athletes and have some fun of their own. This year, our Aqua Zone will be bigger and better than ever. With areas like the Olympic medal exhibit or the Michael Phelps SwimSpa Challenge, the 2012 Aqua Zone will have a lot to offer our fans, including a special social media twist that people will love. As we all know, the athletes are the No. 1 focus at Trials. What can swimmers expect when they get to Omaha this summer? More than 1,700 athletes are expected to compete at the Trials, and we want every one of them to feel as though they are the most important people in the world when they arrive in Omaha. From the layout of the arena to the expanded “Athlete Zone,” our Olympic Trials are created to offer our swimmers the best possible environment for such an extreme level of competition. Omaha was a great location for Trials in 2008. With the event back in Omaha in 2012, can you explain what makes a city like Omaha such an ideal destination for Olympic Trials? Omaha has embraced our sport with amazing enthusiasm, from the civic and business leaders to the media to the general public and volunteers. This is their Olympic Games and everyone who comes to town will feel and see that spirit.
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We Gots Us some new members of the Justin case secret brigade: lynn a., luke s., bee Y., Kevin W., camille f., Kate e., carter c., rebecca e., and the brother and sister team of abby and andrew f. that’s the good news. the even better news is that everyone who joined up and sent in a photo of their head has their domes hidden somewhere in this issue. i’m also gonna hide a banana in here too, because, let’s face it, i can pretty much do what. i’m Justin Case. special props to the members of the JCsB who sent me photos of themselves with shoes on their heads. i’m a little disappointed Lochte didn’t send in a picture with his green sparkly kicks on his noggin, but i’ll get over it. if you’ve just now discovered this here tiny type and want in on the Jcsb, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “Darf narfle” in the subject line along with a photo of your head and i’ll hide it in the magazine. Peace out, Jcsb!
splAsH • May/June 2012 • The TRIALS ISSue
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Splash - May/June 2012
Splash - May/June 2012
Swim Briefs/Justin Case
Top Ten Tweets/Point-Counterpoint
Keys to Success
Olympic Trials Preview
Rank & File
Third Is No Charm
Behind the Scenes
Making the Team
Swim Nut Zeke
Ultimate Pump-Up Song
Best Race Ever
America’s Swim Team Athletes
Splash - May/June 2012