The US Olympic Team Trials, held in Omaha, Nebraska, hold a very special place in the international swim world. All eyes are on the swimmers competing for a chance to represent America in the Summer Games. But before swimmers hop up on the blocks, before they even fire up the ultra-bright spotlights of CHI Arena, a different team is put to the test, pushed to incredible mental and physical limits under the constant ticking of a stopwatch.
“It’s all hands on deck. So, there’s upwards of 18 different companies here from electricians to plumbers to production people, to steel trade people, all having to organize together and work in an unbelievable unit,” Myrtha Pools’ John Ireland said.
Ireland is the conductor of this orchestra responsible for putting together the Trials pool, piece by piece, at warp speed. And you think the swimmers are under the gun? It’s a daunting task, to say the least. “This is something that normally takes six months and we’re going to do it in seven days. So, this is quite literally something no one else in the world can do. No one else has even attempted it. Every time we do this, we set a new record. We’re going 16, 18-hour days pretty much for two straight weeks,” Ireland explains. It’s the blood, sweat, and tears before the eyes and ears of the nation arrive. The numbers are staggering:
- 12,000 bolted connections
- Two kilometers of plumbing
- 60,000 square feet of plywood
- 2.5 million gallons of water
Everything has to be perfect, and everyone on the 80-person squad needs to pitch in. From the supervisors on down to the interns scrambling to make sure the welders have plenty of water and aspirin. There’s a team of medics on-site just in case. “We are genuinely taking people to their absolute physical limits,” Ireland adds. “This is our fourth time in Omaha, but it still goes without saying this is a monster feat. And being able to accomplish it, in the end, we’re proud of it because in the big picture it (helps) grow the sport of swimming,” Mike Mintenko, Myrtha’s Sales Director, remarked. It’s not kind of a big deal. It is a very, very big deal!
“The legacy of this event, the records of the pool, they go on to V3. And they go on to support the City of Minneapolis and Minnesota as a state.”
— Mike Mintenko, Myrtha Pools Director of Sales
“There’s this real feeling of patriotism about being able to flex out and do this and provide the forum and the spotlight that the sport deserves. And we just hope that lineage carries over strongly to V3. They’re getting a very special swimming pool,” Myrtha’s Aaron Gabriel explained.
Once that pool is disassembled, panel by panel and bolt by bolt, it’ll be shipped to North Minneapolis where it’ll be up to V3 and the supporting community to carry that lineage and legacy on. If there’s one thing we know about Minneapolis, it’s that the city was built on strength and determination. Just like the USA Swimming Team representing our nation in the Olympics. Just like the team that built a world-class pool in a weeks’ time.
“The legacy of this event, the records of the pool, they go on to V3. And they go on to supporting the city of Minneapolis and Minnesota as a state,” Mintenko concluded.