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Stars at IU Natatorium Strong Reminder of University's Traditions of Swimming Excellence

Michael Phelps at the 2009 USA Swim Nationals held at the IU Natatorium.
Michael Phelps at the 2009 USA Swim Nationals held at the IU Natatorium.

Published:

March 29, 2012

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The presence of Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and other U.S. and international swimming stars on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus this weekend is offering a strong reminder of IU’s tradition of excellence both in the pool and with regard to swimming-related research.

Phelps and fellow Olympic champions Ryan Lochte, Amanda Beard, Dara Torres and Katie Hoff are among the more than 900 swimmers competing this weekend for the 2012 Indianapolis Grand Prix at the IU Natatorium, 901 W. New York St., Indianapolis.

The event, which began today, March 29, and concludes Saturday, March 31, is a prelude to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., and is one of three major events scheduled this summer to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the IU Natatorium. Also on tap are the U.S. Open and the Junior National Championships, both in August.

Phelps is returning to the IU Natatorium as the next step in his dream to add to his total of 16 Olympic medals, including eight gold-medal performances in Beijing in 2008. He has set two world records at the IU Natatorium, one in the 100-meter butterfly (2009) and the other in the 400-meter individual medley in men’s competition (2003).

During its 30-year history, the IU Natatorium has hosted five swimming or diving Olympic Trials, 10 men’s and women’s NCAA championships, five spring and five summer nationals and three (soon to be four) U.S. Opens.

IU boasts 6 national team championships in swimming and diving. Olympic swimming icon Mark Spitz competed at IU from 1968 to 1972, during which time he won nine Olympic gold medals and eight NCAA Titles, and set 33 world records. Spitz’s seven gold medals in the 1972 Munich Games stood as an Olympic record until Phelps won his eight gold medals in 2008.

Spitz trained with legendary IU swimming coach James E. “Doc” Counsilman, widely considered the greatest coach, scientist and innovator in the sport of swimming. His name adorns the Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming, which is dedicated to academic research into swimming techniques, training and equipment, among other areas. The center is located in the Department of Kinesiology at IU Bloomington’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

The IU Natatorium is home to the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management at IUPUI. The school’s faculty, staff and students were deeply involved in planning activities related to the Super Bowl XLVI, held in Indianapolis in February.

Just this month, athletes at IU Bloomington and IUPUI earned major recognition for their performance in the pool.

IUPUI diver and three-time All-American Chen Ni closed out her senior season on March 17 by claiming her second National Championship in the platform dive. She also won in 2010.

On Tuesday, March 27, IU senior swimmer Margaux Farrell was named to the French Olympic team.

For more on the IU Natatorium, go to http://www.iunat.iupui.edu.

For more on the Indianapolis Grand Prix, go to http://www.usaswimming.org.