Gold medalists return to UGA campus

6:31 PM, Aug 22, 2012   |    comments
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Gold medalist Shannon Vreeland allows 11Alive reporter Jerry Carnes try on her hardware.

ATHENS, Ga - A pair of gold medalists are making the tough transition from collecting Olympic hardware to long nights of homework.

Swimmers Allison Schmitt and Shannon Vreeland are back on the University of Georgia campus after collecting a total of five medals, three of them gold.

"One of the coaches asked if he needed to pinch me," Schmitt said of her appearance on the gold medal stand. "I looked like I was on Cloud 9. I still am."

In London, Schmitt and Vreeland were members of the gold medal winning 4x200 meter freestyle relay team. Schmitt won an individual gold in the 200 meter freestyle. She added a silver medal in the 400 meter freestyle and a bronze in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay.

Schmitt also won a bronze medal in the 2008 games.

On the UGA campus, they're celebrities working toward a degree.

"Coming straight back to school was kind of hard because we didn't get a break at all," said Vreeland. "People come up to me and say, 'I've never met a gold medalist before.' I'm like, wow, I remember waiting in line to meet other Olympians."

"People stop me walking from class to class, on the bus, asking, 'are you Allison Schmitt?' said Schmitt. "I'm still the same. Whether I walk away with five medals or none, I'm still the same."

Schmitt and Vreeland both made appearances on NBC's Today Show after their gold medal performances. Vreeland appeared during a cooking segment.

"I'm so bad at cooking," said Vreeland. "We were making something basic and he asked if I knew how to whisk. I said what's that?"

Both swimmers hope to return to the Olympic Games in 2016. Meanwhile they have to focus on the upcoming college season.

Georgia's first meet is in October against arch rival Georgia Tech.

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