There's a funny story at Kids Prefer Cheese about the local swim club that blackballed Katie Ledecky's family.  Yes, that Katie Ledecky.  Because they lived too far away.
The Little Falls Swim club membership is capped at 377 families. Joining via waiting list can take 7 years! Points toward membership are awarded by how close you live to the pool (in a 10 zone system). If you live more that 4000 feet (yes you read that right FEET) from the pool, they won't even accept your application!

Government created artificial scarcity combined with a price ceiling provoking a frenzied but meaningless status competition that seemingly consumes peoples' lives?

Oh, yes please!

Zoning makes building another damn pool nearby unlikely. Just being Maryland makes letting prices clear the market impossible.

The Ledecky family long ago joined a different pool and swim team (the impeccably named Palisades Porpoises) and the rest is history.
Rent seeking. Positional arms races.  And now the Olympic celebrations are at a less exclusive swim club.

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