Olympic swimmer and Lenoir City native Claire Donahue set a new personal best in her race Saturday, and hometown fans cheered her all the way through it.
"It was exhilarating. I was just screaming. My heart was racing," says brother Dean Donahue. And he can only imagine how his big sister was feeling. "I felt like I was, but she probably was more nervous."
He joined a packed house at the Chili's in Lenoir City to watch the race.
Kristin Ford sat one table over. She says she's always been an Olympics fan, but having a local girl in the game makes it even more exciting.
"Just to see her face, her name. I mean that's unbelievable! She's from Lenoir City,"says Ford."We just had to be here. We've just been so excited."
Steve Harrelson with the city's Parks and Recreation department got the group together.
"We started the Claire Donahue fan pace on Facebook about four days ago. We've got just about 600 members already. So it's been exciting here in Lenoir City," says Harrelson.
They cheered Saturday afternoon. as though they wanted Claire to hear them London.
And then came the thrilling moment when they realized she'd qualified, spending up spontaneous cheers of "USA, USA" and "Go Claire Donahue."
Dean says he's thrilled with the way his sister's been performing.
"She got her best time in the prelims of the Olympic trials. She beat that in the finals of the Olympic trials. She just beat that now. I mean, she's got another chance to beat it again. Beat a couple more people and she'll get a medal. That's incredible," says Donahue.
And they'll be back tomorrow at 2 p.m. to cheer Claire on again, hopefully to an Olympic medal.