US Swimming Winter Nationals start Thursday at UT

Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) Some of the top swimmers in America are returning to Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center this weekend for the AT&T Winter National Championships.

The short course yards meet runs Thursday through Saturday. Preliminaries start at 9 a.m. each day and finals will be at 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the main entrance to the aquatic center.

Four Olympic gold medalists and 40 members of the USA Swimming National Team are scheduled to compete this weekend. Tennessee junior Molly Hannis and former UT swimmer and SEC champ Brad Craig are members of that national team.

It comes as no surprise that Tennessee has big participation numbers for this weekend, considering the meet is in home waters. There are 26 current members of the UT squad registered for the Winter Nationals, 15 women and 11 men.

Thursday's schedule features the 200 freestyle relay, the 500 freestyle, the 200 individual medley, the 50 freestyle and the 400 medley relay.

Freshman Morgan Dickson is scheduled to swim the women's 500 freestyle. Freshman David Heron and senior Sam Petersen are entered in 500 freestyle on the men's side. Heron was a member of the USA Junior National Team this summer, representing the U.S. at the FINA Junior World Championships in Dubai.

In the 200 IM, Dickson and versatile sophomore Amanda Carner are in the women's race, while Craig and freshman Austin Hirstein are representing UT in the men's race.

Thursday's schedule includes the fastest race of the meet, the 50 freestyle. Sophomore Chris Sadsad, junior Troy Tillman and freshman Luke Percy are all in the field. Percy has enjoyed plenty of success in long course meters this year, winning the gold medal for Australia at the FINA Junior World Championships in August.

Tennessee has teams entered in all relays.

The Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, Tennessee on-campus facility, has hosted multiple national swimming and diving events since opening in 2008. Last year, AJIAC hosted the U.S. swimming team for its domestic camp leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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