Greensboro, NC-- The Gate City's hopes for hosting the USA 2016 Olympic Swimming trials are under water. Tuesday, Officials with the Greensboro Coliseum learned it was no longer in the pool of cities for consideration.
North Carolina 2016 was the local organizing committee for Greensboro's bid to host the Swimming Trials. Greensboro had been one of four remaining finalists to host the Trials. USA Swimming is expected to announce its final selection on April 27, 2013.
The organization released this statement about the news:
"We thank Greensboro and North Carolina 2016 for their interest in hosting the Trials," said Mike Unger, Assistant Executive Director of USA Swimming. "The organizers, volunteers, facilities, and overall support in Greensboro were outstanding. Even though we won't be there for the Trials, we look forward to a long relationship with Greensboro as we will continue to host events there in the future, such as our AT&T Short Course National Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center this December."
USA Swimming's Site Selection Committee toured the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in March.
"We are certainly disappointed that we will not be the chosen city for 2016, however we are very pleased and proud to have made it this far in the process against some of the largest and most accomplished sports cities in America, " said Hill Carrow, Chairman of North Carolina 2016. "It is important that key sport decision-makers on the national and international sports scene get to see the tremendous venue assets, significant population growth, and major-league resources that North Carolina can bring to any national-level event. By all indications from the Site Selection Committee we exceeded expectations on all those accounts."
We all know sports like football and basketball bring in big crowds and sell out arenas. But, swimming? When Greensboro's city council talked about building an aquatic center, some asked, 'Why does Greensboro need that?'
However, in 2008, voters approved a $12 million bond. Nearly seven million dollars of hotel tax money covered the rest. Now, a year and a half after it opened, the investment has more than paid for itself.
Swimmers from the U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Championships are at the aquatic center this week. Competition begins Wednesday.
The aquatic center has already had a $58 million economic impact since it opened. 50,000 hotel rooms have been booked in the last year and a half thanks to aquatic center events.
"It's new and fresh. There's lots of light. There's windows everywhere, so it doesn't feel like you're in a dungeon all day long. Also, the people. I can't talk enough about the people. They are so willing to help," coach Stephanie Raftery said.
Visitors like Raftery go back home and talk about what they saw here in Greensboro. The aquatic center director said she gets calls from other cities all the time who want to use the building as a template for their own.
"Some of the cities that are considering building one call us and say, 'this is the place we've been told to reach out to. We share information about what we did right and what we would change if we could,'" Director Susan Braman said.
There are already plans to widen and expand the corridor area to make room for more people and vendors.
Construction on the corridor should begin within a few months.