Claire Donahue is making her hometown of Lenoir City proud with her new title of Olympian.
Tuesday night, she learned she's going to London after she qualified for the U.S. Olympic swim team. She finished in second place in the 100-meter butterfly in her career best time of 57.57 seconds.
The 23-year-old Western Kentucky graduate says she hasn't stopped smiling since the race, but thinks the title is finally setting in.
Even though she's in Nebraska, preparing for her next Olympic trial Thursday morning, her fans here at home are still celebrating from Tuesday's victory.
"I was literally screaming for 56 seconds straight and I was worn out. It was just amazing, exhilarating," said her middle school swim and track coach, Scott Mackintosh.
"When we saw that she got second, oh my God! You should have seen our household! It was crazy!" said her former teammate and competitor, Hannah Pendergrast.
"When I first saw my time, it was a combination of shock and excited and pure joy. I looked up and I didn't believe it. I took off my cap and goggles just to make sure that the number two beside my name was really a two," Donahue said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
While Donahue was in disbelief of her career best performance, Mackintosh always believed she had what it takes.
"[I] knew from a very young age that she was talented but more than that she had a drive that you don't see in normal kids," he said.
Donahue helped start the swim team at her middle school.
"She probably coached me more than I coached her but we had a great time and she was very competitive then," said Mackintosh.
She worked her way up to the competitive circuit training with Blount Area Swim Team and the Lenoir City High School team.
Classmates even foreshadowed her Olympic appearance in their yearbook, calling her "future Olympian."
"She was definitely a person I could look up to. She was an amazing swimmer, still is an amazing swimmer. She has that natural ability and skill," said Pendergrast who calls Donahue a role model.
Donahue says her community has been behind her from the beginning.
"It's really nice and really humbling to know how much they're really there for you and cheering me on," she said.
She's counting on them to help her bring home the gold.
With the time she swam last night, Donahue is now seated sixth in the world for the 100-meter butterfly.
She has another swim meet Thursday morning to qualify for the semi finals of the 200 meter butterfly.
She'll be back home next month to train with the entire U.S. Olympic swim team at the University of Tennessee.