Perdue looking to make big waves

Published 11:40 am Sunday, July 20, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — While many high school students have spent their summer at the beach, Lauren Perdue has been spending her time in the pool.
The rising senior at J.H. Rose High School has set a lofty goal, and she’s not about to let anything stand in her way. Perdue’s goal, since she started swimming seriously some six years ago, is to represent her country in the Olympics.
Perdue recently made her first bid to make the Olympic team at the Olympic Swims Trials in Omaha, Neb. While she didn’t make the team, Perdue gained some invaluable knowledge while competing against the best swimmers in the nation.
The Rampant speed-demon in the water knew it would be a competitive meet, and she was as mentally prepared as possible.
Perdue competed in three events. She finished the 200 freestyle in 2:02.70 (59th overall), the 100 freestyle in 56.88 (60th overall) and the 50 freestyle in 26.36 (63rd overall).
She’s not the first in her family to swim at the Olympic Trials. Her father, Phil Perdue, qualified for the trials when he was a swimmer at the University of Virginia.
Her mother, Tammy Perdue, was a swimmer at William &Mary before transferring to Virginia.
Swimming is definitely a family affair as her sister, Meredith, will be swimming at Virginia next year.
Like her family members, Perdue has found quite a bit of success in the pool. She is the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state record-holder in the 50 freestyle, while she’s also set the standard in the 100 and 200 events during her prep career. Along with those records, Perdue owns a handful of state championship medals.
The talented swimmer isn’t about to rest on her laurels. Perdue wants to end her high school swimming career with a bang.
Perdue also wants to shore up some of her techniques, including the fly and breast stroke. She injured her shoulder three years ago and hasn’t swam those events in some time.
While she’ll be working on those styles, Perdue won’t slack while continuing to train for the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events. She uses a different strategy in each of her specialties.
Perdue competes with the Greenville Swim Club, which has opened up several important doors for her.
Thanks in part to competing with the Greenville Gators, Perdue earned a trip to Australia.
Perdue will continue her “world tour” Aug. 4-8 when she competes in the Junior Nationals in Minnesota.
After all her success, Perdue, who admires record-setting and Beijing Olympic-bound swimmers Katie Hoff and Dara Torres, will likely have her choice of college to continue her swimming career. Her top choices at the moment include Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia and Auburn.
So just what does it take to be one of the premiere swimmers in the country?
Perdue knows she has to be physically and mentally strong if she’s hoping to make the Olympic team in four years.
Despite all her success, the teen doesn’t let it get to her head.
It surely seems that this gifted swimmer would be a great representative to wear the red, white and blue.