Lauren Perdue's journey back from back surgery has ended with an Olympic gold medal.
Perdue, a rising senior on the Virginia swimming and diving team, was a member of the US 4x200-meter freestyle relay team that won the gold medal on Wednesday. Perdue swam the lead leg of the American relay team that had the best time in Wednesday's prelims.
“What an unbelievable night," Perdue said afterward. "I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to contribute to a gold medal relay today. The relay tonight was phenomenal. It was so exciting being able to cheer them on tonight and sharing the ultimate prize, an Olympic gold medal, with all six girls! Each one of us has worked incredibly hard for this moment and I could not be more proud of my USA teammates.”
Perdue bounced back from back surgery in March to make the US Olympic team with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle at the US Olympic trials last month.
Perdue and teammates Shannon Vreeland, Alyssa Anderson and Dana Vollmer won the prelims with a time of 7:50.75, exactly two seconds faster than Italy's time. The team of Missy Franklin, Vollmer, Vreeland, and Allison Schmitt set a new Olympic record in the finals, winning the event in a time of 7:42.92.
Perdue is the fourth Cavalier all-time to win an Olympic swimming gold medal, and the second in as many days. On Tuesday, former Virginia swimmer Matt McLean won gold as part of the US men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay team.