Rio Olympic Games Brings Iowa Swimming Club a Boost in Numbers

URBANDALE, Iowa -- A brand new wave of athletes are coming to central Iowa.

"The excitement level is through the roof," said new Central Iowa Aquatics Head Coach Kyle Hastings.

33 American medals in the pool on the Olympic stage in Rio opened the eyes of kids across the state.

"I didn't believe it when Katie Ledecky beat the world record," said 7-year-old Noah Rinehart.

It all lead Rinehart, along with nearly 30 other kids, to become new members at Central Iowa Aquatics in Urbandale and swim competitively for the first time.

Rinehart said, "I watched Michael Phelps swim and I thought about other sports and I thought, well since this sport looks pretty easy, I should join this one."

American dominance in the pool is causing C.I.A.'s numbers to rise rapidly.

Coach Hastings said, "Going up between 10-15 percent because people understand this isn't just a sport where your options are limited."

Coach Hastings joined C.I.A. four months ago after coaching collegiately at Indiana where he helped recruit and coach Rio Olympic gold medalist Lilly King.

"I don't think there's a better time in the history of our sport,” he said.

Hastings says the phones are ringing to get kids signed up.

"People call and say, 'I have the next Katie Ledecky.’ I think it's been a lot of fun to have parents that are new, just being exposed to swimming and getting excited about the sport,” he said.

All with hopes of Olympic glory.

Rinehart said, "My goal is to be the next Michael Phelps."

It's done the same for Ankeny's Kelly Lindeman and her two children.

"It's very rewarding because when you see your child get excited about something you want to encourage them and help them develop those skills,” she said.

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo may seem like a long shot but the Olympics have helped to harvest a strong crop of new swimmers in Iowa worth keeping an eye on.

"The talent is here the hard work is here and I know that in the next four years we will be reshaping Des Moines swimming," said Coach Hastings.

Hastings says 14-year-old Waukee swimmer Gillian Davey posted a 200-meter breaststroke time that would have qualified her for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha but it came two weeks after the trials. The 2020 trials' times have not been released but Hastings believes it will be good enough to qualify.

Click here for more information about Central Iowa Aquatics.