Oakland University swimmers eager for historic Olympic trials in a football stadium

Posted at 1:07 PM, Jun 08, 2024

The 2024 Olympics are less than two months away, and while so many of us will be cheering on Team USA from thousands of miles away, there are a few athletes in metro Detroit who are trying to make a splash of their own.

Swimming has caught the attention of the world this week as Olympic trials are underway at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. That's right, there's a swimming pool in the middle of a football stadium.

Crews spent three weeks constructing the two pools. One is a warm-up pool but the main pool is 8.2-feet deep and holds over 2 million gallons of water.

As unique as it all is, Oakland University has three students who qualified for the Olympic trials at Lucas Oil Stadium – Ian Allen, Christian Bart and Jordyn Shipps.

"Being the first meet in a football stadium is kind of surreal," Shipps said.

"It's just going to be a once in a lifetime thing," Bart said.

"I've never swam in a football field before, but that sounds awesome," Allen said. "I am honored to wear black and gold. representing OU in the Olympic trials, that's something that's bigger than myself. I'm honored."

The trials will determine just 52 swimmers who qualify to compete for Team USA in the Olympics.

Bart said even if someone would have told him in high school that he'd go to college, he wouldn't believe them.

"I just know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In the pool and out of the pool, is just something I'd like people to know. I did come from harder times in life, but I'm going to the Olympics now," he said.

For all three, swimming has been their lives, and the ability to qualify for the trials has been a long time coming.

"It means a lot. I've been swimming since I was 6 years old, so to be able to achieve a dream I've been thinking about since I was a child is huge, and I'm excited ot represent Oakland at a high stage," Shipps said.