MIDDLETON, Wis. - The 52nd annual All-City Swim Meet begins at Middleton's Bauman Aquatic Center pool Thursday.
Almost 2,000 swimmers will compete in one of the largest meets of its kind in the nation, but the 13 teams won't just be battling each other in the pool.
There's another competition that is more important than the actual swim meet itself.
"The motto that we have been having this year is that is takes a village to put on All- City," said co-Meet Director Adam Warriner.
Middleton has been planning for two years to host the historic meet.All City: More than just a swim meet
"The first All-City Swim Meet was held in 1962 and there were less than 150 swimmers and the meet took a half a day. Now we have 1,890 and the meet takes three days," said Warriner.
The team competition isn't the only title up for grabs the next few days--there is a fierce competition to give back to the community. The swimmers also compete to see who can raise the most meals for local food pantries.
"Each different team has their own food drive and it's all about who comes out on top for the food drive," said Middleton Gator's coach Scott Schweickhardt.
The food drive has been a real focus the past five years and large-scale events like this can be a great platform for change.
"We raised 180,000 meals just the swim community, last year and if we stay on pace, we will top 1 million meals raised through the food drive through its history," said Warriner.
"It's about swimming well, about coming together as a community and giving back to a community. Our athletes are kids and they are passionate about this and they are excited to give back," said Schweickhardt.