Get ready to do a double-take at the Gene Leahy Mall Lagoon

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 20:08:07-04

You normally do not see swimmers in the lagoon at Gene Leahy Mall, but if you go down there over the next few days that's exactly what you'll see.

Creighton Prep swimmer Michael Simmons is used to being recognized for his swimming accomplishments. 

“His specialty is the 100 meter back stroke and he finished third at the 2016 Nebraska State Swim Meet,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. 

But, on Wednesday Simmons and four other area high school swimmers weren't given medals for their swimming success, instead cut-outs of their likeness were revealed in the Gene Leahy Mall Lagoon. 

“You don't realize how big the pictures are going to be and then you get here and they look super realistic,” said Josh Pales, a freshman swimmer at Lincoln Southwest High School.  

“I think this is so cool.  I didn't think this was going to be this big,” said Lincoln Southwest junior Alana Palmer. 

The Omaha Convention Visitors Bureau says with more than 700,000 vistors coming to Omaha within a three week period for the Slump Busters Little League Tournament, The College World Series and the Olympic Swim Trials, they had to do something big. 

“We saw this as an opportunity to use the power of social media to show Omaha off as a great place for people to come and visit,” said Keith Backsen, the Executive Director of the Omaha Convention Visitors Bureau. 

The city hopes the cut-outs will not only get people excited about the start of the 2016 Olympic Swim Trials, but they hope their unconventional approach to promoting Omaha will have social media abuzz.