Sterling Native Matt McLean Won a Gold Medal in London Yesterday

McLean helped the US to gold in the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay yesterday, an event the country has won in four of the past five Olympics.

By: Mary Yarrison

Last night, when the American men’s 800-meter free relay won Olympic gold over France, Baltimore’s hometown boy Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian ever. He’s now the proud owner of 15 Olympic golds, two silvers, and two bronzes, though he told Anderson Cooper earlier this year on 60 Minutes that he doesn’t actually have all the hardware anymore—one gold from Athens got lost. He’s not sure when.

Phelps’s 19th medal (his 15th gold) wasn’t just big news for the superstar and his family, though. It came in a relay, the result of great swims by seven members of Team USA—including local product Matt McLean.

McLean, who grew up in Sterling, Virginia, and graduated from Potomac Falls High School and the University of Virginia, made the Olympic team, his first time, by finishing fifth in the 200 free at the US Olympic trials in June. He swam second on the morning relay, finishing his leg in one minute and 46.68 seconds, helping the US to its first-place seed for the night’s final.

Only the fastest swimmer from the morning group, Conor Dwyer, was selected to swim in the final. He was joined there by three members of the 2008 relay that also won gold—Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Ricky Berens—and the group won, beating France by just over three seconds. All seven swimmers who competed for the US receive gold medals, though only the final four got to stand on the podium last night.