DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) — Des Moines is kind of swimming in it.
The city is basking in the limelight that comes with a nationally televised competition involving the best swimmers in the world.
After years of anticipation, the first professional swimming meet in Iowa history is underway. It could make some serious waves for Iowa swimming. Iowans have the chance to see more than 300 professional athletes -- from world record-holders to Olympic gold medalists -- compete on a national stage.
"People that, a year or so from now you'll hear about swimming in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, (are) swimming right here in Des Moines," said Ruth Comer, with the YMCA of Greater Des Moines.
A few years ago, construction on the pool was stalled, and this day seemed far-fetched. But now it's here, and the event is not only historic but also profitable.
When you factor in hotel and transportation costs, Catch Des Moines projects the swim meet will bring in more than $2.1 million to the Des Moines economy.
"I've been around the world and seen a lot of pools, but this is pretty nice," Olympic champion and world record-holder Kathleen Baker said. She said it's special to be a part of bringing such a big event to Des Moines.
"I think it sort of just sparks the fire for younger kids, and who knows if you have the next Olympian in Des Moines, Iowa," Baker said.
They wouldn't be the first. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Mike Burton is a Des Moines native.
"For a swimmer, there's nothing like the Olympics," Burton said. "It's our Super Bowl. It's our World Series."
Burton won his medals in 1968 and 1972, but he said today's athletes share the same goal.
"Nothing can beat winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games," Burton said.
The gold medalist could be competing right in front of our eyes.
The meet runs through Saturday, but tickets are selling fast. For tickets, go to usaswimming.org.