City officials hope that the road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will go through Federal Way.
Representatives from USA Diving recently visited Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center as a potential site for the trials for the U.S. Olympic Team.
It wouldn’t be the first time the King County Aquatic Center has hosted the event. The trials were held at the 2,500-seat facility in 2000 and 2012.
“This is pretty exciting stuff for a community of our size, but this is old hat for you guys because you have done this before and successfully,” Federal Way Economic Development Director Tim Johnson told the City Council at its Nov. 7 meeting, the day before the visit from USA Diving representatives.
The city planned to submit a bid for the 2020 trials when USA Diving made the request for proposal, but because of recent changes in leadership, the organization approached the city about visiting the site.
USA Diving is also considering Indianapolis, Indiana, and Atlanta, Georgia, as well as possibly Los Angeles, California, or sites in Texas or North Carolina, to host the trials, Johnson said.
Indianapolis, which is also home to USA Diving’s headquarters, has hosted the trials six times since 1984, including in 2016.
Johnson said, during the visit to Federal Way, USA Diving officials indicated they could be looking for one site to host the next three trials – 2020, 2024 and 2028.
“We didn’t see that coming at all,” Johnson said. “We were expecting just to prepare for 2020.”
Joe Clark, spokesman for USA Diving, said in an email that while the site for 2020 trials could impact the overall planning for the next 11 years, it doesn’t mean the organization is selecting sites for 2024 or 2028 immediately.
Since hosting the trials in 2012, Federal Way has set aside approximately $40,000 a year to host future trials and the NCAA swimming and diving championships, Johnson said.
“We are not flat-footed for 2020,” he said.
The city would partner with the Seattle Sports Commission and King County to host the trials, as it has done in the past.
“It is a historic partnership that has been successful and continues to be,” Johnson said. “This can’t get done any other way.”
The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, which was constructed to host the swimming and diving portions of the 1990 Goodwill Games, is slated to host two large events in 2018 – the Marine Advanced Technology Education International Underwater Robotics Competition and the Special Olympics swimming and diving events.