Former Olympic medalist now trains swimmers in Middle TN - WSMV Channel 4

Former Olympic medalist now trains swimmers in Middle TN

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McMINNVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Many of us could never imagine what it's like to be Michael Phelps or Missy Franklin on the world's biggest stage, but one Middle Tennessee swimmer has been there.

"The exhilaration of the moment, the thrill of being there and actually competing, just the honor and pride of representing your country in something you have worked and trained so hard for," said Paige Zemina Northcutt, of McMinnville.

Zemina Northcutt won a bronze medal at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. She swam in the women's 400-meter freestyle relay, along with another notable Olympian - Dara Torres, who went on to become the oldest American swimmer to compete in an Olympic Games.

Zemina Northcutt said swimming has become much quicker these days, though.

"You know they do that dolphin kick off of the wall and we weren't able to do that. So, swimming as a sport has progressed forward and gotten faster itself," she said.

The former Olympian still works out, but not at the six-hours-a-day pace it took her to earn a spot on Team USA. Now, still often found sitting by the pool, Zemina Northcutt looks back on her career as the 2012 Games continue in London.

"I was actually bored one summer and my mom said, 'hey, let's go down to the swim team and see if you like that.' And I loved it. And from there, it just took off," she said.

Zemina Northcutt now trains the next generation of swimmers on the McMinnville swim team.

"She was the first one to ever get me to put my face in the water and taught me all of my strokes. And because of that, I was able to swim competitively, so she's just kind of given me a way of life," said swimmer Elizabeth Oxley.

Zemina Northcutt said she cherishes her memories and friendships from the trip to South Korea and continues to cheer for Team USA.

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