VERONA, Wis. - The All-City Swim Meet begins its three-day run at Hawks Landing pool Thursday.
This is the 51st annual event, and there are now 13 pools sending competitors for the big meet.
For the first time ever, it's being held at Hawks Landing, and coaches said they are ready for the big rush.
"It's a lot of last-minute decisions and a lot of excitement building," said Stacey Johnasson, head swimming coach at Hawks Landing. "We are just trying to make this the best possible All-City for our kids."
Hawks Landing joined the league in 2006.
"We took everything we have known from the past couple all cities, and tried to make the best of everything, from winner ribbons to parking to clerking," said Johansson, who has been coaching since the pool opened in 2003. "It's a league for brand-new swimmers and also veteran swimmers that have been doing it for years."
Johansson said the swim meet is essentially controlled chaos, with more than 1,800 swimmers ranging from age 4 to recent high school grads. There are also more than 500 volunteers, and new this year at Hawks Landing, bleacher seating for nearly 1,000.
"We ended up with these great grandstands that we will have a lot of seating for people. Lots of fans will be able to come and watch their kids," Johansson said.
One of thing that makes the All-City Swim Meet unique is the coaches, who dress up in outrageous costumes. Hawks Landing coaches said they hope they don't disappoint.15943978
"Well, we are the Hawks Landing so we are going to be watching hawks, so we will be in some bird-watching costumes, " said Johansson. "Probably some khaki shorts and maybe a vest. I am probably not even supposed to say that because it's all top-secret information."
It's a new venue, but the half-century old Madison tradition continues.
"You have late nights and early mornings planning what you are wearing, doing entries, and figuring out relays, but everything about it is just great," said Johansson.