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March 21, 2013

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Virginia senior swimmer and Olympic Gold Medalist Lauren Perdue recently sat down with to discuss the upcoming NCAA Championships, which start Thursday (March 21) and run through Saturday (March 23) in Indianapolis, Ind.

Question: How do you feel going into the NCAA Championships, knowing it’s your last?

Perdue: It’s bittersweet. I’m trying to enjoy every moment of practice and living in Charlottesville before I’m not a collegiate athlete anymore. It’s kind of sad, but I’m also very excited and we’ll see what happens.

Question: What are your thoughts on the season up to this point?

Perdue: I’m thrilled with my performance this season. Fortunately, I’ve been able to overcome my back injury and recover from that and I have gained more strength from it. I think I’ve definitely been training harder in the pool and weight room. At ACCs, I wasn’t rested as much as I could have been, so that’s promising for NCAAs when I will be rested.

Question: How do you feel about this year’s team after ACCs?

Perdue: Our win is a testament to how determined the young women are on our team. We don’t like to lose, that is a Virginia swimming legacy. We hate losing more than we love to win. Coach (Mark) Bernardino got us fired up. He told us it will be a close meet, but we went after it the first session and that came to our advantage.

Question: What advice have you given to younger members of the team who are going to their first NCAAs?

Perdue: I try to keep them calm as possible. A lot of them were nervous for ACCs, and to have that under their belt is a good motivator and encourager for NCAAs. They have one really pressure-filled meet under their belt. NCAAs are really nerve-wracking, but having competed at ACCs will help.

Question: You’ve been an Olympic Gold Medalist, but what has been your best moment at UVa as a collegiate swimmer?

Perdue: Touching second in the 200 free my second year. That was a great feeling to be able to come close to winning that event and touching second to Allison Schmidt was great. I’m coming back this year and have been on an Olympic team with a couple of the ladies in my event so we’ll see what happens.

Question: What has been your favorite part of UVA outside of swimming?

Perdue: The proximity to the mountains and beautiful countryside. Living in Charlottesville for four years has been a blessing. I’ve been able to experience many things that I couldn’t have experienced back at home. It’s such a beautiful place with so much history, and it’s great to be a part of that.

Question: Why should a high school senior want to come to Virginia?

Perdue: For a swimmer, the UVa swim team is the closest, most welcoming group of people you will ever meet. I experienced that on my recruiting trip and I knew there was something special about this team and the long stretching family of alumni that have swam here. Also, the beauty of UVa is great and the academics are also phenomenal. All of that make it a great place.

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