World class swimmers compete in Knoxville

Many top American swimmers are competing in USA Swimming's 2013 AT&T Winter National Championships held at the University of Tennessee's Allan Jones Aquatic Center.

Among the hundreds of swimmers is four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, who trained with the USA Olympic Swim Team in Knoxville 1.5 years ago.

"I walked into the hotel and was just flooded with these memories and the barista at the hotel remembered my order at Starbucks and I was like, 'Oh my gosh,' and she was like, 'It's only been a year-and-a-half,' and I was like, 'Only?!'," said Franklin.

Franklin isn't the only Olympic swimmer excited to be back in Knoxville. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones was also a part of the 2012 USA Olympic Swim Team that trained at UT.

"People are like, 'Hey Cullen,' and I was like, 'I can't even believe you guys remember.' I even went to Starbucks and they remembered my drink, which is awesome! It's really cool. I've had a great time in Knoxville. The food and the people have been very welcoming and I'm happy to be back," said Jones.

Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue is very familiar with East Tennessee's hospitality. After all, she grew up in Lenoir City.

"It's neat to be able to have it in your own hometown and since it's been so long it's more than anything I think it's exciting for me to be able to come back and to race at such a big meet and race against some really good people," she said.

The 2013 AT&T Winter National Championships run December 5th - 7th. Preliminaries will begin at 9 a.m. each day, with finals beginning at 5 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door.

A live webcast is available for all three days ( National television coverage from the meet will air on NBC on Saturday, December 21st at 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST.


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