Olympic gold medalist and Greenville native Lauren Perdue says she is feeling very lucky, and very blessed to be in London.
The J.H. Rose graduate earned the gold medal Wednesday for helping Team U.S.A. in winning the 4x200-meter women's freestyle relay. “Winning a gold medal I never thought would be possible in my first Olympics. It’s just a great, great experience,” Perdue told WITN Sports today.
Perdue, who just turned 21, spoke to WITN's Chris Obarski as she remains in London with the games.
While she did not swim in the final race, Perdue did participate in the team's preliminary race for the gold that morning. “It was really based on our splits and I unfortunately did not have the fastest split,” said Perdue. “Ultimately each of us played an essential role in the success of the relay.”
And what about turning down LeBron James' dinner request? “It’s hysterical it’s been blown up this big over one tweet that I tweeted.”
You can hear more of WITN's interview with Perdue tonight at six.
Greenville's Lauren Perdue helped Team USA secure a spot for the gold in the 4x200 meter relay at the Olympic Games in London by competing in the qualifying round, but Lauren did not swim in the finals when they won the gold.
The relay team in the qualifying heat included Shannon Vreeland, Perdue, Alyssa Anderson and Dana Vollmer. Missy Franklin, the 17-year-old who has already won two medals in the games, took Perdue's place in the medal round. Allison Schmitt took Anderson's spot. The Americans clocked an Olympic-record 7 minutes, 42.92 seconds.
Perdue tweeted after the finals, "So proud of my team and honored to be part of a gold medal relay."
Perdue does receive a gold medal for her contributions to the team.
Perdue's former coach with the Greenville Swim Club, Casey Charles, says he is proud of her accomplishments. Charles says, "Known her since she was 11-years-old and just being able to see her progress, I'm just really happy that she's happy and she's doing what she loves."
The relay was the only event Lauren qualified for, so she's all done in London. She has one year left at the University of Virginia.
She finished 2nd in the NCAA 200 meter freestyle in 2011, but she was unable to compete earlier this year due to a back injury.
WITN joins everyone else in Eastern Carolina in congratulating Perdue.
Greenville native Lauren Perdue and her teammates secured a spot for the gold Wednesday in the 4 x 200 meter relay at the Olympic Games in London.
The team won today's qualifying heat with a time of 7:50.75. Team USA came in second overall; Australia, which competed in a separate heat, had the best time.
The relay team in the qualifying heat included Shannon Vreeland, Perdue, Alyssa Anderson and Dana Vollmer.
WITN talked with Casey Charles, Greenville Swim Club head coach, who said Perdue's sister confirmed that Perdue would not swim in the medal match. Perdue does get a medal if her team does.
Relay swim teams do sometimes switch out a member or two. Missy Franklin, the 17-year-old who has already won two medals in the games, took Perdue's place.
About four hours before the qualifying heat, Perdue tweeted, "Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident." That is a biblical verse from Pslams 27:3.
You can watch the finals during WITN's primetime Olympic coverage tonight. That begins at 8 p.m.
To learn the result from the medal race, click on the "Spoiler Alert" story link below.
"A lot of our kids are thinking 'Hey, this is possible' because someone from a little town like Greenville is all of a sudden on the national spotlight. So it's pretty exciting," said Lauren's Former Coach Scott Pake.
The qualifying round of the relay will air on WITN between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Wednesday August 1st. If the team advances, the final round will air between 8 p.m. and midnight.
Click here for the link to the NBCOlympics.com site for Perdue's race, which shows the qualifying heats start at 6:26 a.m. Eastern Time Wednesday, with Team USA swimming in the second heat.
Click here for the live stream to watch Perdue compete live online.