Q&A with Lauren Perdue
Freshman Lauren Perdue and the women’s swimming team is fresh off its third consecutive ACC championship. Perdue helped the Cavaliers to a victory with individual wins in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events. She was also a member of four of UVa’s five winning relay teams en route to earning the Most Valuable Swimmer of the Meet award. The squad is back in action at the NCAA Championships March 18-20 in West Lafayette, Ind. Perdue, a native of Greenville, N.C., recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to talk about her first season of college swimming, what role her family plays in her swimming career and what her goals are for 2012.
Question: How would you describe your first year of college swimming so far, since you still have the NCAA Championships coming up?
Perdue: This year has been great. There have been many accomplishments. I was really excited to break three pool records and three school records. We have accomplished a lot as a team. We’ve made history by winning three ACC championships and I was very excited to be a part of that. We have a great team and I love everybody’s work ethic. We push each other in practice. We are always there for each other. The coaches have helped me so much in developing my stroke and helping me accomplish those things.
Question: What was it like to go into your first ACC meet and win three individual races and be part of four winning relays?
Perdue: It was a great experience. I have put in a lot of work but it’s not just me. I have been given a really great gift from God. It was exciting to be part of the relays and winning that third championship. It was great that I was able to win all three of my events. And MVP of the meet, it was a little unexpected but exciting for me. I have really enjoyed being part of this team.
Question: As a student, how has your first year of college been?
Perdue: It’s been a pretty difficult transition. I kind of knew what to expect coming in but when classes started first semester it was still a surprise for me. I have definitely adjusted and I’m happy with where I am right now.’
Question: What role does your sister, Meredith, play?
Perdue: My sister and I have always had a really special relationship. She is my best friend and we have always pushed each other in practice from an early age. She encourages me and I encourage her. We are always there for each other in every way. I am really excited she is also part of this team and all these great things and win an ACC championship together.
Question: Has your dad given you any advice coming into UVa, especially since you’re swimming under the same coach he did?
Perdue: My dad is very encouraging and he really helped me adjust. Before I got here he gave me some pointers on how to balance schoolwork and swimming. He told me little thinks about Mark (Bernardino) and what to expect. He has really helped a lot with that and it’s also pretty great I am swimming for the same coach my dad swam for 30 years ago.
Question: How did you get started swimming?
Perdue: My parents encouraged us to swim when we were kids but they also let me play other sports: soccer, volleyball, softball. So I wasn’t focused on just swimming – I had other options. I probably started around age eight and I have been thankful for their support in every way.
Question: Besides your family, who else has been an inspiration to you?
Perdue: Natalie Coughlin. She is a very hard worker, even though she is not very big, I can kind of relate to that. I am not as small as she is, height-wise, but compared to most sprinters in the nation I am on the smaller-end. Seeing all of her accomplishments, what she’s done and how tough she is, that’s really inspiring to me.
Question: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not swimming or studying?
Perdue: During the summer I like to surf and go to the beach. I love hanging out with my friends. I haven’t really had time to do a lot this year yet, but in high school I really loved to draw and paint.
Question: What do you want to accomplish in the next five years or so?
Perdue: My dream goal in life has been to represent our country in the Olympics, whether it’s just a relay or anything, it would be a great opportunity to go represent my country. It has been my dream for a very long time and I will continue to look forward to that and work for that every day in practice.