Courtesy US Swimming
COLORADO SPRINGS- The most prestigious swimming competition to be staged in the U.S. since the 1996 Olympic Games will be held in Indianapolis, Ind., as FINA awarded the city the 2004 Short Course World Championships, FINA Honorary Secretary Gunnar Werner announced today. The meet, which will take place just over a month after the 2004 Olympic Games, has traditionally attracted the world's top stars and has featured numerous world record-breaking swims.
Indianapolis will host the event in the new Conseco Fieldhouse, one of the world's most unique state-of-the-art sports and entertainment facility (see Conseco Fieldhouse in this release for more information). The tentative dates are Oct. 7-10, 2004. Representatives from USA Swimming, Indiana Sports Corporation and Pacers Sports and Entertainment made the final bid presentation to the FINA Bureau. The bid was approved earlier today in Athens, Greece.
"Hosting the World Swimming Championships five weeks after the Athens Olympic Games will create an American stage upon which to celebrate our sport and recognize our Olympic champions," said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming Executive Director. "We envision hosting an event that will simply blow people away -- the world's greatest swimmers competing in the country's finest indoor arena. We think this event can do for swimming what the Women's World Cup did for women's soccer in this country."
"This is the most important swimming event to ever take place in the United States outside of the Olympic Games," said Dale Neuburger, President of Indiana Sports Corporation and of USA Swimming. "Conseco Fieldhouse is the finest sports facility in the world and we're delighted that FINA has chosen to bring an international competition of such magnitude to Indianapolis."
The Short Course World Championships, held in the exciting 25-meter format, is a perfect showcase for the world's top stars. Prize money and world-record bonus incentives ensure athletes come ready to swim fast. At this year's World Championships in Athens, Greece (March 16-19), 15 world records were broken, including six by Americans. In addition 21 American records were broken. This year's meet featured a record 540 competitors from 75 countries.
"The Short Course World Championships are already becoming one of the premier swim meets in the world," said 1996 U.S. Olympic swim team captain Josh Davis. "To have all of the countries of the world come together for just swimming ... swam in short course ... and to have it in America ... it could be one of the greatest meets of all-time.
"I think it's a great opportunity to bring the highest level of swimming to the U.S.," said five-time Olympic gold medalist Jenny Thompson. "It's such a great international competition; it's great for the general public to see what a great sport swimming is and how exciting it can be. Typically, this meet has been tremendously exciting with the temporary pools in a big arena. I think that it will be a lot of fun."