No Michael Phelps, no problem.
Tickets for the 2020 Swim Trials are selling at a record pace. The trials at CHI Health Center determine the makeup of the U.S. team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
There were skeptics who wondered before tickets became available July 1 if sales might lag because Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, retired.
Phelps participated in the three previous trials in Omaha, including the 2008 event before his record-setting eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
USA Swimming and the Omaha Sports Commission announced late Thursday that the entire lower bowl of the CHI Health Center already is sold out for all eight days of the June 21 through 28 competition. That’s ahead of the pace of the 2016 event, which sold out all 15 sessions.
Sports Commission officials also said that more than 80 percent of the all-session tickets sold have been purchased by those living outside the Omaha metro area.
So instead of waiting until November as planned to offer four-day packages, the opportunity to purchase tickets for the first four or last four days of the trials begins at 10 a.m. Friday. Four-day packages can be purchased at the CHI Health Center box office, through any Ticketmaster outlet or online at ticketmaster.com.
These packages include the morning preliminary competition and evening finals except for June 28, which only has an evening program. Silver level tickets for the four-day packages are $275, while the bronze tickets are $220. No gold level tickets are available, as the lower bowl is sold out.
“Fans are clearly excited to see America’s top swimmers battle in their final competition on home soil,” Omaha Sports Commission President Josh Todd said. “People wanting good seats should purchase their tickets soon.”
Some of those top swimmers Todd referred to include Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel, Nathan Adrian and Simone Manuel. U.S. team member Hali Flickinger has qualified in nine events; 12-year-old Sydney Tolan of Clifton Park, New York, is the youngest qualifier; and 38-year-old Olympic medalist Anthony Ervin from La Jolla, California, is the oldest qualifier to date.
USA Swimming Chief Operating Officer Mike Unger said 1,076 swimmers have qualified for the trials, and the final total is expected to be in the range of 1,400 to 1,500 qualifying for at least one event.
“The best of the best from across the country have their sights set on Omaha, and positions on the U.S. Olympic team will be on the line every day,” Unger said. “The new four-day packages offer a tremendous way to experience what will no doubt be an incredibly memorable event.”
The Nebraska 100: Our greatest athletes
The Nebraska 100, originally selected in 2005 and then updated and re-ranked in 2015, came from a pool of nearly 500 names from the ranks of high school, college, amateur and professional sports from the past 140 years. Assistance came from a panel of veteran sports observers from across the state, with the newspaper's sports staff determining the final rankings.