US Olympic Swim Team practices in Knoxville - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

US Olympic Swim Team practices in Knoxville

Posted: Updated:
U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte answers media questions Thursday at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in Knoxville. U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte answers media questions Thursday at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- More than 2,000 fans flooded the University of Tennessee campus Thursday morning to welcome the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team to East Tennessee.

Team USA held one-hour open practice and media session at UT's Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in what was one of its final workouts before leaving for the upcoming London Games.

All the big names were in the water, including Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and 17-year-old sensation Missy Franklin.

"We saw it on Channel 3's Twitter last week and tried to keep it a secret so no one else would hear about it, but obviously it looks like everybody did," said Chattanooga's Sarah Beth Moore, who made the early morning trip with her family and a friend. "We can't go to London to watch the games, so this was the next best thing."

A capacity crowd in the upper-deck of the indoor facility cheered and chanted to show their support. And while the turnout was an eye-opener for the Olympic rookies, even some of the veterans were truly blown away by outpouring of support.

"This was my first time ever having something like this at a practice, but I guess it gave me a little motivational boost to go even faster," Lochte said. "I've been to the 2004 Olympics and 2008 Olympics, and every time we had a media day there were like 15 fans.

"This is just amazing. It shows how much bigger the sport has become since 2004."

Many athletes stayed after their workouts to sign autographs and take pictures with fans, drawn in by the region's trademark southern hospitality.

"Everyone is so nice," Franklin said with a wide smile. "They said there are like 2,000 people here today, which is absolutely incredible to have that kind of support. Everywhere we've gone we're getting 'Good lucks!' and congratulations from everyone we meet when we're walking down the street.

"To have what seems like the whole town here and behind us, it's the best."

The U.S. Olympic Swimming Team previously trained in Knoxville prior to the 1996 Games in Atlanta. This is the first time the Olympic Team has been able to use the four-year-old Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.

Tennessee is one of the few schools in the country to have two full-sized indoor pools between Allan Jones and the team's former competition venue next door, the Student Aquatic Center. The outdoor pool behind the Student Aquatic Center is also Olympic sized.

"The facilities here are amazing," Phelps said. "The water was a little cold, but we warmed it up in a hurry. Especially with all the support we had here. I checked my phone at 6 a.m. and saw people tweeting from two hours before about how they were waiting in line to see us.

"We haven't had a crowd like this for a day like this in the last three Olympics I've been to."

Channel 3 Sports Director Keith Cawley will be in Knoxville for the event. Look for his coverage almost immediately on WRCBtv.com as well as full reports on Eyewitness News at 5:00 and 6:00.

  • Channel 3 Eyewitness SportsMore>>

  • Lookouts close homestand with 6-0 loss to Suns

    Lookouts close homestand with 6-0 loss to Suns

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:41 AM EDT2014-04-19 04:41:26 GMT
    SPORTS - Chattanooga LookoutsSPORTS - Chattanooga Lookouts
    The Chattanooga Lookouts (5-10) could not overcome an early four-run deficit and ended up dropping the final game of the team's five game series against the Jacksonville Suns (6-9), 6-0, in front of 4,685 fans at AT&T Field on Star Wars Night.More
    The Chattanooga Lookouts (5-10) could not overcome an early four-run deficit and ended up dropping the final game of the team's five game series against the Jacksonville Suns (6-9), 6-0, in front of 4,685 fans at AT&T Field on Star Wars Night.More
  • Harang shuts down Mets, Braves win 6-0

    Harang shuts down Mets, Braves win 6-0

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-04-19 04:04:26 GMT
    SPORTS - Atlanta BravesSPORTS - Atlanta Braves
    Aaron Harang threw no-hit ball for seven innings but was pulled after 121 pitches, and reliever Luis Avilan gave up David Wright's two-out single in the eighth as the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 6-0 Friday night.More
    Aaron Harang threw no-hit ball for seven innings but was pulled after 121 pitches, and reliever Luis Avilan gave up David Wright's two-out single in the eighth as the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 6-0 Friday night.More
  • Suns blast Lookouts, 11-4

    Suns blast Lookouts, 11-4

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:55 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:55:36 GMT
    The Lookouts (5-9) came into the game looking to get their first series win of the year against the Jacksonville Suns (5-9), but fell 11-4 in front of 3,500 fans.More
    The Lookouts (5-9) came into the game looking to get their first series win of the year against the Jacksonville Suns (5-9), but fell 11-4 in front of 3,500 fans.More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.