Our World-Class Pool: Behind the Scenes at the Olympic Trials in Omaha

Who’s the fastest? Who’s peaking at just the right moment in time? The Olympic Trials are all about challenges. V3 challenges you to find someone who knows more about building a world-class pool than Myrtha’s John Ireland. In fact, we dare you to find a team that could put the best pool in the world together, piece by piece, in just 14 days.

“When I see, how they explained it and the engineering and ingenuity and innovation and everything that went into this, it’s amazing,” Miquel Purvis McMoore, a V3 supporter, remarked. Another supporter of V3, David Mooty, agreed. “A lifetime kind of thing. I mean, it’s just so impressive to see how quickly they build it, how much thought goes into it. And the overall quality of the project is top-notch.”

Ireland can rip through facts and tidbits as fast as Swimmer Regan Smith ripped through V3’s Olympic Trials Pool in Omaha. Among his best, as he took V3 behind the scenes, included:

  • The filtration system filters down to one micron, which is the size of a human red blood cell.
  • Water can be recirculated at 5,000 gallons per minute.
  • The temperature can be regulated within 1/10 of a degree.
  • The pool is nearly dimensionally perfect, the shortest lane is 50.001 meters and the longest is 50.003 meters.
  • The Myrtha systems are the only pool systems in the world that have been certified to a zone 5 seismic criteria. That is stronger than any earthquake that has ever occurred in North America.
  • The pool is extremely corrosive resistant, the structure is made using Marine grade stainless steel, then anything that touches chlorinated water has hard bonded PVC on it, and anything that touches the atmosphere or soil is coated in a thin film laminate.

The tour within CHI Arena in Omaha started near the trials’ warm-up pool, where the athletes get ready for their races to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The V3 team took in the fascinating science behind the process of building this world-class facility as they ducked underneath the warm-up pool before making their way to the pool deck of the 50-meter pool. 

“So, this is your pool, 2.5 meters deep, all track star blocks. All the latest state of the art headwalls…the whole kit and caboodle,” Ireland told the group.

“In all my years living on the Northside, the number of times people say nothing world-class every comes here and to be here on the front of something that’s world-class coming to the Northside just makes me excited

Chanda Smith Baker

The team had a blast, running out through the tunnel the athletes used to head toward the starting blocks. V3 supporters then took center stage, in the form of the platform that rises up from the floor so excited swim fans can greet newly minted Olympians. 

It was a bit overwhelming to consider this pool, under the swim world’s brightest lights, would arrive in North Minneapolis in a few short weeks.

“It’s so impressive. And I was talking to some of the folks on the tour to say that in all my years living on the Northside, the number of times people say nothing world-class ever comes here and to be here on the front of something that’s world-class coming to the Northside just makes me excited,” Chanda Smith Baker said.

David Mooty agreed, “You think about all the years that the Northside hasn’t had much of an amenity package to work with. Now with these two pools coming in for training and education and the whole curriculum that V3 is going to put together and it’ll be amazing.”

Fundraising momentum is building as V3 continues to take in donations, big and small, from throughout the metro area. The plan is to build around the 25-yard instructional pool first, so V3 can get started on delivering lifesaving swimming lessons and making headway on drowning disparities. Hopefully, crews will break ground by spring 2022, and then they’ll add the Olympic Trials pool in a few years.

“This is so great,” NBC Swimming Announcer and well-known Olympic great Rowdy Gaines exclaimed. “You know, it means a lot to our sport to be able to reach out to those, especially those underserved communities that would never have that opportunity. Then to know that they’re going to have one of the greatest pools in the history of the sport in their backyard is something that’s really special.”

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