If you want an in-ground pool in your backyard, don’t expect your local contractor to have it done any sooner than two months from now. If that eats up too much of your summer, try calling the Omaha Sports Commission (OSC), which can put down two Olympic-sized pools in two weeks.

Harold Cliff is president of the OSC and chief operating officer of the USA Swimming Olympic Trials, which Omaha hosted in both 2008 and 2012. In April USA Swimming announced that the city would hold the Trials for a third straight time in 2016.

“The second time around was less cumbersome to organize than the first time,” Cliff said. “This next time will hopefully be the same.”

For an event with the magnitude and popularity of the Trials, typical swimming venues fall short. Instead the OSC heads the construction of a Olympic-sized competition pool inside CenturyLink Arena and an even larger warm-up pool inside the adjacent CenturyLink Convention Center. Home to Creighton University men’s basketball and University of Nebraska at Omaha men’s hockey, the arena can hold 14,000 with the pool in place.

“The CenturyLink Center, being a very fairly modern facility, is very well-equipped to handle what we need,” Cliff said.

The construction process begins 5-6 weeks before the Trials and lasts from 12-16 days. Surveyors make their measurements and pin the floor to where the pool will be. After that, it’s all hands on deck, with plumbing and electrical both being installed as the pool is being built.

Ten-foot-long concrete slabs are brought in on flatbed trucks and anchored to the floor with steel to make up the pool’s foundation. Plumbing and filtration pipes are put in while the pool’s walls are installed, and once one section of wall is complete the deck’s construction can begin can. This consists of building rows of scaffolding and then covering them with a few layers of plywood and carpeting.

“It involves so many trades at the same time,” Cliff said. “It’s not your typical build where you do one thing and then wait for the next group to come in. We’re onsite with a lot of people from the very beginning.”

Both the competition pool and the warm-up pool are built simultaneously. When construction is complete, the Omaha Fire Department brings in two full-size ladder fire trucks to fill the pools. Water is pumped gently at first, as to not damage the pool’s floor, but once there is enough water in, they begin pumping at a rate of 1,000 gallons per minute. With the pools needing a combined two million gallons, it takes over a full day to fill them up.

“It’s a fairly large undertaking,” Cliff said. “We’ll have about 350 people onsite at any given time working on different projects.”

While the pools are being filled, an outside company installs three large gas heaters to heat the water, which must be within a half a degree of 80.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the pools are filled, the circulation process begins and the water is treated with chlorine. With the pool ready for competition and with 3-4 weeks until the Trials, a test event is run to make sure that all is in order. The OSC works with Great Big Events on the production side of the “show,” and the sports event planning company handles all special effects, onsite management, the general look of the inside of the arena and coordinating with NBC, which airs the event.

“To me that’s really what makes the difference. Setting the atmosphere for the spectators and swimmers,” Cliff said. “You’re dealing with a healthier budget than a typical swim meet. The spectators are expecting a show and the swimmers are pretty jacked up by the time they get out to the pool deck.”

Last year’s show was so memorable that it was nominated for Sports Business Journal’s 2012 Event of the Year along with the Ryder Cup, U.S. Grand Prix and Stanley Cup Finals.

“It’s a very nice recognition for the event in total and it’s a nice compliment to everyone involved,” Cliff said. “From our perspective it was a great honor. When you look at the four finalists, those are pretty amazing sporting activities.”

A favorite feature in 2012 was the water-wall backdrop to the stage that could be set to form different messages or symbols. Cliff admitted to there being at least one big new addition to the show in 2016, but is choosing to keep it under wraps.

“You can expect it and it will be a surprise,” Cliff said. “One of the reasons for [not revealing the program] is not just building anticipation, but also if we come across new items in the next couple years we can incorporate them into the program.”

The Trials last for eight days and drew more than 167,000 spectators in 2012. The athletes, coaches and fans brought over $30 million of direct economic impact to Omaha, and the OSC is expecting closer to $35 million in 2016.

“It’s a very popular event and the community gets behind it in a very large way,” Cliff said. “[In 2016] we’re hoping to use essentially the same crews who are very familiar with the operation. The overall process will be very similar because it has worked. I think at this stage we are quite comfortable, as is USA Swimming, with the overall layout and operation of the venue.”