U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Splashes Onto the Scene at TAC

Team USA takes a lap locally.

Before they shine in the City of Light, the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team will splash on the scene in the Triangle for Domestic Training Camp. Translation: The world’s top aquatic athletes—having historically included the likes of Mark Spitz, Rowdy Gaines, Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Natalie Coughlin—will be defying gravity (never mind the need for oxygen) here at Triangle Aquatic Center June 28–July 10.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Triangle scoring a Trials grab would be unthinkable. Sure, the area is clearly suited for swimmers—home to such greats as Olympic gold medalist and Wolfpack alum David Fox (whose TAC TITANS alum son is now attending Olympic Trials), Ashley Twichell, and Cardinal Gibbons’ alums David Greeley and Claire Curzan (see sidebar), to name but a few; a storied NC State swim team; some of the country’s most competitive year-round swim programs (including the TAC TITANS); and a citywide swath of swim clubs that make Tarheel Swimming Association summer swimming a perennial starting block for every child’s “if you can see it you can be it” dream.

But if you had stepped on a pool deck when Fox struck gold in the ’90s and forecasted the Triangle as a Trials destination, you’d have been accused of being in a fever dream. Now, that dream isn’t some farfetched fantasy. It’s a reality. And, adding to a long list of local accolades—NHL Stadium Series, rumblings of MLS and MLB Raleigh among them—it’s also another huge indication of just how significant a slice of Southern real estate the Triangle has fostered. “USA Swimming’s confidence in TAC and our community speaks volumes about how Cary and this region embraces and supports major sporting events,” says Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance Executive Director Scott Dupree.

Essentially, whether you’re a swim fan or not, having TAC lap up the Trials is just plain epic. Given the training camp only occurs in line with the summer Olympics’ four-year schedule, “this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the Triangle,” says TAC Executive Director Derek Wall. “Everyone should be proud to live in an area with such quality infrastructure and amazing resources”—like TAC—and “the incredible RDU Airport just minutes [away].” Add to that, Raleigh’s position on the East Coast makes for a quick (direct!) pond jump to Europe. 

As for the facility itself, it’s one of the only single-campus facilities in the nation—and optimally set up to host camp, thanks to the recent addition of an outdoor 50-meter pool and state-of-the-art fitness center to its 50-meter and short-course pools, not to mention ample parking and bus access… all of which “significantly reduces athlete travel and simplifies logistics” while upping R&R time, says Wall, who is also husband to Olympic (2020 Tokyo) repeat hopeful Twichell. Then there’s the Triangle’s straight appeal as an “ideal location” compared to other large metropolises, he adds—think airport size, temperate environment and relatively low traffic.

Now that camp is upon us, the excitement is at a fever pitch. Beyond star power, bragging rights and adding to an ever-expanding civic résumé, the Training Camp also seeks to generate remarkable economic benefit and visitor spending to the Triangle, as both Wall and Dupree note. 

“But this is about much more than economic impact,” says Dupree, “The U.S. Olympic Swimming Team training in Cary shines a spotlight on TAC and positions it as a premier, national destination for swimming at the highest level. USA Swimming’s confidence in TAC and our community speaks volumes about how Cary and this region embraces and supports major sporting events.”

Much like the NHL Stadium Series, this puts us back on the world’s stage. “TAC, Raleigh and the Triangle are getting looks from other governing bodies and countries for our ideal conditions and facilities we have to offer to athletes such as swimmers and triathletes,” says Wall. And it’s not necessarily an Olympic one and done: With the 2028 Olympics in LA, he says, this area makes an ideal stop for many European Olympic teams.

That said, “we are extremely excited to host the 2024 [U.S. Olympic Swimming Team] before their departure to the Paris Games,” emphasizes Wall. “We are proud and humbled that USA Swimming recognizes the significant effort TAC has made to build the ideal training environment for swimmers. We give our all to grow the sport of swimming every day and are excited that this effort is being acknowledged both locally and nationally!”

SAVE THE DATE: July 5, 4:45–7:30pm | TAC

Lap up cocktails and apps while mingling with special guests (think David Fox, Claire Donahue and Charlie Houchin) and watching the 2024 USA Olympic Team train at this Stars and Stripes Soiree. triangleaquatics.org

SAVE THE DATE: July 6, 8:30–11:30am | TAC

Meet the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team and grab autographs before they head to Paris. Space is limited to the first 1,000, nonperishable food donations for Dorcas Ministries required for entry. triangleaquatics.org

Dive In With the Locals

Ashley Twichell

Apex resident
Former + hopeful Olympian

  • Team that raised you: I grew up swimming for the Syracuse Chargers in my high school years.
  • Raleigh go-tos: I love Torchy’s, Tazza—and Angus Barn is my absolute favorite!
  • Thing you miss most from Raleigh while away:  My massage therapist, Wellness by Lia
  • What motivates you? I like pushing myself to be the best I can be in practice every day—the best version of myself. I want to show my son what it looks like to work hard toward a goal and then compete to achieve it.
  • Most challenging facility to compete at + why: In 2011, I competed at the Pan American Games in Mexico, which was at altitude. I swam the 800m free in Mexico City and to date it’s still the hardest 800m I have ever done.
  • Go-to routine before a big race: Ice cream the night before. Preferably soft serve!
  • Reflecting on the dream: I remember in high school when I was trying so hard to get my first ever Olympic Trials cut thinking how cool it would be to be able to tell people I was going to be competing at the Olympic Trials for USA Swimming. I never would’ve dreamed I’d now be going to my fifth Olympic Trials—and having already been to one Olympic Games!

Claire Curzan

Cary native/resident
UVA student
Former + hopeful Olympian

  • Team(s) that raised you: Started as a Reserve Stingray in TSA at age 3, then competitively at age 7 for RSA [before] moving to TAC before I went to college
  • Raleigh go-tos: Sushi-Thai, Umami Japanese Steakhouse, First Watch, Fenton shopping for sure! 
  • Things you miss most from Raleigh while away: My family and friends—and especially my dogs!
  • What motivates you? Personal growth and always striving to push past my limits. I like being able to race my own best times to try to propel myself to uncharted territories.
  • Most challenging facility to compete at + why: 2024 World Champs in Doha—the ceiling was curved so sightlines for backstroke caused you to drift into the lane lines.
  • Go-to routine before a big race: Some go-tos are Starbucks before finals sessions, having my lucky boots to walk out in, and watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives between sessions.
  • What you’d tell your younger swim self: Enjoy the process and journey because it goes by so much faster than you think—and always show appreciation to your support system. Being on my own now in college has shown me how much they sacrificed to help me get where I am, and I am forever grateful for their continued support!

David Greeley

Durham native
Harvard student
Olympic hopeful

  • Team(s) that raised you: Duke Aquatics developed my love for the sport; NCAC kept that passion; and TAC helped me take it to an elite level.
  • Raleigh go-tos: Cook Out—unfortunately this NC original hasn’t made its way to Boston.
  • Thing you miss from Raleigh most while away: Friends, family and Southern hospitality
  • What motivates you? Fulfilling my potential—and my family, friends and coaches who have sacrificed so much for me to be where I am
  • Most challenging facility to compete
  • at and why: Greensboro Aquatic Center—water
  • is freezing; deck is drafty; and pool has a
  • funky taste.
  • Go-to routine before a big race: No real routine—only key is to keep steady and conserve energy before the big race!
  • What you’d tell your younger swim self: Don’t obsess over the time, rather focus on the little decisions day in and day out. Time is a reflection of the quality of these decisions.


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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.