The FINA World Swimming Championships is the most prestigious swimming event outside of the Olympics with the world’s best swimmers participating, including a dizzying number of Olympic medallists. And, this incredible international sporting event that will be broadcast all over the world will be taking place in our little city this weekend. This is huge, people! This is also the very first time this elite sporting event has ever taken place in the United States, too. Indianapolis artist Artur Silva created the logo imagery for the FINA World Championships to reflect the theme ‘See water catch fire.’Amazingly, two 25-meter (short course) swimming pools have been built on the floor of Conseco Fieldhouse, making it the largest natatorium in the world. Visit www.worldswim2004.com to see time lapse footage of the construction and read play-by-play details on how the NBA arena was transformed into a swimming stage more spectacular than anything MGM and Ester Williams could have ever conceived of. More than 100 people working around the clock created the eight-lane competition pool that will hold 300,000 gallons of water and the six-lane practice pool that will hold 175,000 gallons. When the pools are filled, the water will be almost as high as the Pacers basketball rims.
Nine hundred swimmers from 120 countries will compete for the 40 World Champion titles at this event. 2004 Olympic multiple medallist Michael Phelps (four individual gold medals in the 400m and 200m individual medleys and the 200m and 100m butterflies) will be competing. And then there are all the other 2004 U.S. Olympic medal winners committed to the event: Amanda Beard, Lindsay Benko (from Elkhart, Ind.), Haley Cope, Natalie Coughlin, Ian Crocker, Nate Dusing, Brandan Hanssen, Larsen Jensen, Kara Lynn Joyce, Klete Keller, Tara Kirk, Rachel Komisarz, Ryan Lochte, Aaron Peirsol, Katilin Sandeno, Jenny Thompson, Peter Vanderkaay, Neil Walker and Amanda Weir.
In conjunction with the swimming event, the 15th FINA World Sports Medicine Congress (Oct. 12-13) will take place as will the American Swimming Coaches Association World Clinic. But best of all is Chasing the Champions event where 500 local and regional swimmers can swim against the world’s best times in this temporary world class swim facility.
The Championship competition takes place Oct. 7-11 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Opening ceremonies are at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. Tickets are available by calling 239-5151 or visit www.worldswim2004.com. Single session tickets are $48-$10. Single day tickets are $60-$25. All session tickets are $300-$250.