Day 1 started with the official release of the issue (and the 500 or so online images that you should check out after reading this). After months of photo shoots, sales meetings and tent discussions, launch week was finally here. This year, SI set up an enormous tent in Manhattan's Herald Square (dubbed Swim City) with an event open to the public. Stations were set up throughout the tent to represent the seven different shoot locations for the year's 'Made in the USA' issue. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at all the action. 

MORE SWIMSUIT LAUNCH WEEK DIARY: The Lead-Up


This is the view when you first walk into the tent. There were a lot of distracted people walking into each other. 

Kennedy Byxbee/SI

 
After walking in, I spotted Kelly Rohrbach and made her pose in front of the Kelly Rohrbach banner. To be artistic, we went with a coat on/coat off version. I think it was a strong decision.
 
Kelly Rohrbach :: Andy Gray/SI

 
Kate Bock and Emily DiDonato strike a quick pose before the tent opens.
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
Remember the Super Bowl when Tom Brady huddled the Patriots offense and fired them up before the final, game-winning drive? This is just like that, but with supermodels.
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
Hannah Davis pinches her own booty to make sure the past seven days weren't a dream.
 
MJ Day/SI

 
Despite the crowd, Lily Aldridge finds time to check out the issue.
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
It's not often life affords one the opportunity to have their face shaved by a model. Chanel Iman was on hand to give some lucky fans that opportunity. 
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
A brand new Lexus poses behind Samantha Hoopes and Hailey Clauson. By the way, thanks to all our great sponsors!
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
Genevieve Morton fields some questions from Access Hollywood. 
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
Hannah Ferguson shows off her Connect Four skills at the Rt. 66 Station. A pregnant Ariel Meredith is transfixed by the action.
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
Ashley Smith (Texas native) and Solveig (Denmark native) get their foosball on. Do they even have foosball in Denmark? 
 
Andy Gray/SI
Andy Gray/SI

 
Cover model Hannah Davis stops by the SwimDaily station to answer some questions. Did you know she's also a badass tennis player?
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
Erin Heatherton, pictured here with SINow host Maggie Gray, is my early prediction for 2015 SI Swimsuit Rookie of the Year. Does Vegas have a line on this yet?
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
Of course, Samantha Hoopes was my prediction for 2014 SI Swimsuit Rookie of the Year (won by Sara Sampaio) so maybe it's best if I don't bet. 
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
Another great thing about this year's launch: Fans can meet and get autographs from the models. Here's Erin and Samantha at one station and Kelly and Solveig at another.
 
Andy Gray/SI
Andy Gray/SI

 
Nina Agdal arrives fashionably late. And by fashionably late, I mean she was supposed to arrive yesterday from Miami but had to endure three canceled flights before finally making it safely to New York. But she wasn't going to let that ruin her good time.
 
Andy Gray/SI

 
After some quality time with Nina, I headed home for the day. Come back tomorrow for more behind-the-scenes action from SI's Swim City Tent.