UVA swim coach Mark Bernardino is very familiar with the Olympic Games, as the Cavaliers have sent at least one swimmer to every Olympics since 1996.
"It's an unbelievable honor to place two athletes on an Olympic team," says Bernardino. "It's an unbelievable honor just to place one."
This year, Virginia will be represented by 2011 graduate Matt McClean, and rising senior Lauren Perdue, who will both be swimming in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay in London.
Bernardino has had two swimmers being home Olympic Medals in his 34 years at UVA, and he's hoping to double that total this year.
"I like the chances for both of these athletes to be part of medal winning relays," says Bernardino, "I really do."
Lauren Perdue says, "Matt is a great teammate of mine, and we are so close. I am excited that we will be able to share this awesome experience together."
Perdue was no lock to make the Olympic team, after having back surgery less than six months ago.
Bernardino says, "Our only concern back in February wasn't so much that we were making a decision for her to be an Olympian, we were making a decision for her to be healthy."
"For a time, I wasn't sure if I would be able to make a comeback the way I did," says Perdue. "To be able to compete at Olympic Trials, and swim best times, and ultimately make the Olympic team is a dream come true."
Since making the team, Perdue has spent time training in Tennessee and France.
Her race will be held August 1st in London in the same pool as the best of the best.
"It's just so amazing," says Perdue. "Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin, Allison Schmitt, all these big names that I've looked up to for some time now, I'm one of them, and I'm with them. I get to compete with them, and be a teammate."
Coach Bernardino says the added cache of having a couple of Olympians, and possible medal winners, can only help recruiting.
"For athletes to look at this team and say, 'Wow, we can come to this program and become Olympians, or train with Olympians,' I don't think there's anything better than that," says Bernardino.
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