July 13, 2011
The Allan Jones Aquatic Center has hosted many important collegiate meets. It's hosted three Tennessee state high school championships. It even hosted the 2008 USA Olympic Trials.
However, no one was more excited to enter the home of Tennessee swimming and diving than its most recent guest: the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley.
In a recent field trip to UT's pool, the group of more than 20 kids got a behind-the-scenes tour of the one of the nation's finest aquatics centers, a lesson on goal setting from head coaches John Trembley and Matt Kredich, and even got to swim in the same pool as Olympians.
"This is a great opportunity for our kids," said Sydney Pennington, aquatics director at the Boys and Girls Club. "This is something that many of them would not normally have an opportunity to do. It's very exciting to see this great facility and I'm so grateful for the change to bring our kids here."
The Boys and Girls Club recently received a grant from the Michael Phelps Foundation, helping to raise awareness about the sport and teach kids how to swim. With the new funds, the club has begun to offer swim lessons and even start a swim team.
Senior Ricky Henahan was instrumental in this new partnership. After a recent volunteer outing with the group, the link seemed like a no-brainer.
"When I spend time with these kids, I get in the water with them and we mostly just play and have fun," Henahan said. "We have this wonderful facility on campus and it was great to be able to bring them here and see what it's like.
"I definitely want to thank our athletics department for all the support in putting this field trip together. Our staff here at UT really went above and beyond to make this happen."