Allan Jones at the opening of the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Athletic Center in 2008. Jones was the primary donator for the $24 million facility and is seen here pouring water from Cleveland’s Mouse Creek into the pool.
The Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center at the University of Tennessee is hosting the prestigious NCAA Women’s Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships this week. Businessman Allan Jones, a Cleveland native, is scheduled to hand out the final championship medal on Saturday night.
The championships began on Wednesday. Allan Jones was invited to hand out the final medal last year by Dave Parrington, UT head diving coach.
“This prestigious meet would never have been possible without the generosity of Allan Jones,” said Parrington, who noted that Jones was the first person to swim in the pool when it opened and will also be handing out the last award at the first national championship in the history of the venue.
Jones was the primary donor for the facility, which cost $24 million and was completed in 2008. UT officials announced the project at the time as “a donation that will elevate Tennessee’s status among the nation’s elite swimming and diving programs. This will allow the Vols and Lady Vols to swim in one of the best aquatic facilities in the nation.”
At the opening ceremonies for the center, Jones poured water from Cleveland’s Mouse Creek – his childhood swimming hole - into the pool. The businessman was participating in a tradition long-held by swimmers of bringing water from their hometown pools to important competitions.
The Aquatic Center is regarded as one of the most state-of-the-art swim and dive facilities in the nation. The center features two indoor 50-meter pools, two indoor diving wells and an outdoor 50-meter pool with an additional diving well.
Prior to the Jones’ donation, the UT swimmers had only the much-smaller Student Aquatic Center.
The UT Women’s team won the 2022 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships in February 2023 for the second time in the past three seasons, while the UT men placed second – the highest since 2021.
The state-of-the-art facility boasts a full-size 50-meter competition pool, a separate competition diving well, a strength training center, sports medicine facility and high-tech timing area. The separate competition diving well is slated to feature five platforms with heights varying from one to 10 meters.
Other amenities include permanent seating for 1,284 spectators with a spacious deck area to accommodate up to 2,000 additional individuals, teams and other personnel comfortably during meets.