How do Indianapolis and Omaha compare?

Wednesday marks two years before the start of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials, and for the first time since 2004 the meet do not stand in OmahaNebraska.

But that doesn’t mean the new location will be exactly “new” or “new” to the sport of swimming. The Olympic swimming trials were held at Indianapolis six times: 1924, 1952 (women’s reunion), 1984, 1992, 1996, and 2000. This is in addition to numerous NCAA championship meets, one junior world championship meet, the world swimming championships in small 2004 basin and many other high level competitions. local, national and international competitions.

Indianapolis has become the hometown of swimming in the United States in many ways, as Omaha was more like ‘summer vacation’.

But that doesn’t mean the 2024 Olympic trials will be the same as every other competition held in Indianapolis. With organizers hoping for over 30,000 spectators for each of the 9 days of competition, the scale of this event is unlike anything the city’s robust swimming scene has seen before.

Compare and contrast Indianapolis to Omaha on a number of different metrics so attendees can get an idea of ​​how the 2024 trials might feel compared to the last four meetings of Omaha.

under the dome

The 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Primarily the home of the NFL Indianapolis Colts, the stadium is hugeeven compared to the 18,000-bed CHI health center in Omaha.

While USA Swimming plans to use temporary bleachers to shrink the 70,000-seat Lucas Oil Stadium, it still won’t be a “25% larger” CenturyLink Center. This is because Lucas Oil Stadium has 6 levels of seating. This means that the people at the highest level will be more than 200 vertical feet from the pool – it’s like stacking a 50 meter pool on its end and going straight up!

The CHI health center in Omahain comparison, only has two levels of seating.

Besides the spectator view (we don’t expect USA Swimming to use all 6 levels in Indianapolis), the height could impact the dosers’ ability to use the ceiling as a guide to staying upright, and could create a generally more cavernous feel. It might dampen some of the more exciting moments if the sound escapes into the upper atmosphere, but maybe not.

Lucas Oil Stadium actually has a retractable roof. We don’t expect it to be used during testing, but it would be really cool if it was.


If you participated in the Olympic Trials in Omaha, you know that no matter what the forecasts or historical averages say, the swim meet always falls during the hottest week of the summer. Last year, temperatures peaked at around 105 degrees outside during the meet.

Historically, Indianapolis is a few degrees cooler than Omaha in June.

  • Indianapolis Temperature averages in June: maximum 81 / minimum 61 F
  • Omaha Temperature averages in June: high 84 / low 62 F

On June 15, the historic average high temperature at Indianapolis is about 80 degrees.

Humidity in Indianapolis however, this time of year is a bit higher on average: according to Weather Spark, Indianapolis is heavy on June 15 about 38% of the time, which is heavier than Omaha about 34% of the time.

But it never got hotter than 104 Indianapolis in June. He has in Omahaonce: June 17, 2021. Right in the middle of the US Olympic Trials.

Overall, the weather is about a wash: a temperate June in the Midwest with a chance of a heat wave.


Since the 2020 census, Omaha had a population of about 480,000, while Indy had a population of about 870,000. This size can go a long way in terms of general support infrastructure, restaurants, hotel rooms, and many other metrics we’ll talk about later. Indianapolis‘ The metropolitan population (2.1 million) is about twice as large as Omaha‘s so (1.1 million), and even though that includes many suburbs and other less convenient swimming locations, this metropolitan population drives much of the services that are in the cities themselves – which is, for example, a big part of why Indianapolis has NFL and NBA teams and Omaha does not.

Both cities are growing at similar rates – just under 1%.

Hotel rooms

It’s here that Indianapolis will shine compared to Omaha, where finding affordable housing was difficult during the trials (and especially the overlap with the College World Series). Downtown Indianapolis alone has over 8,500 hotel rooms, with several more new hotels expected to open over the next half-decade (although many will not be completed in time for testing).

Indianapolis, hometown of the NCAA, is an event city, and they’re equipped for that kind of influx of people. The city has hosted the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four tournaments 8 times (and is expected to do so again in 2026).

The Indiana Convention Center, which is connected to Lucas Oil Stadium, has 12 connected hotels.

As markets move towards more people staying in Airbnbs or similar home rental services, these account for a larger percentage of home inventory – current data shows around 2,500 Airbnb listings in Indianapolisagainst only 1,000 in Omaha.

Douglas County, seat of Omahahas “nearly 10,000 hotel rooms” according to the Omaha Convention and Tourism Office. Marion County, Indiana has 23,000 hotel rooms somewhere north. These numbers change and change depending on which hotels are built or removed, but it is clear that Indianapolis is overall much better equipped to handle the influx of visitors.


the Omaha the airport is good, it responds well to the needs of the city. But IndianapolisThe airport has been named the best in North America by Airports Council International for 10 consecutive years in the category between 5 and 15 million passengers per year.

While Chicago’s O’Hare Airport will always be a hub for many visitors en route to Indianapolis (Chicago-Indianapolis flights are the most frequent of the two airports), many more people will be able to fly direct.

Does that mean you’re less likely to sit next to Lilly King on your way home from tryouts (like I did in 2021)? Yes. But overall the pain to fly to Indianapolis will be lower, on average, than Omaha.

The only cities that fly directly to Omaha But no Indianapolis are Fort Myers (in season), Salt Lake City and St. Louis.

Comparison of data between airports:

India Omaha
Passengers 7.1 million 3.7 million
Tracks 3 3
Cities with direct flights 44 31
Airlines companies 11 7
doors 33 28
Daily departures 300 88

Time zone

While Omaha is in US Central Time, Indianapolis is on Eastern US Time. Remember that by 2024, the United States is expected to switch to permanent daylight saving time.

USA Swimming has shown a strong preference to hold this meet in the central United States to spread the pain of travel from both coasts. Athletes from the West Coast will however have 3 hours jet lag to train upon arrival. We also have to remember that the Olympic Trials have always been shown on the Prime Time Network TV – we don’t know what that schedule looks like for 2024 yet, but that could mean the final sessions will start an hour later. to adapt to television time slots. .


Tripadvisor lists 1,890 restaurants in Indianapolisagainst 1,170 restaurants in Omaha. We will definitely miss the Old Market area in Omaha (the Weber Grill doesn’t have the same vibe), but both towns have similar cuisines and overall restaurant quality. The cuisines center on Midwestern meat and potatoes, but both are seeing growing diversity in their restaurants as well as their populations.

We will help you find the best spots to Indianapolis as the encounter gets closer, but on average it’s probably a washout. Traditionalists fear not: both facilities are less than a 5-minute walk from an old spaghetti factory.

Public transport

Neither city has excellent public transportation. Indianapolis is working on opening new bus express lanes this year, which will at least make getting into town a bit easier for people who want to stay further from the city center.

The only place where Indianapolis really differentiates itself is the bicycle and the scooters. Omaha added scooters to “public hire” for 2024, but there weren’t enough of them and there wasn’t much dedicated road space to ride them. Indianapoliswhich also has e-scooters, has a lot more space dedicated to bike lanes, and what’s more, those lanes are more often separated from car traffic and feel a lot safer.

Plus, there were a ton of areas in Omaha where the scooters didn’t work.

Omaha in 2021 has seen a dramatic shortage of Uber drivers, especially during the CWS/Trials overlap, and with a lack of public transport or scooter/bike options, which has often left people stranded trying to figure out how to get home . Scooters should at least alleviate some of that tension in Indianapolis (although at least one scooter company, Spin, has recently pulled out of town).


“Better” is always subjective. Some people will miss the “turn around dating” vibe in Indianapolis and the confluence with the College World Series.

But from the point of view of pure ease of participation, the measures all favor Indianapolis. The city is bigger, and even beyond that, better built and better equipped to host large-scale events.

There will be things that we will all miss Omaha, and among the sessions considered for a replacement, we can quibble over which one was the best. But it seems clear that the meeting had become too big Omaha and was ready to move to a bigger city.

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