RIO 2016 EXCLUSIVE: Countryside High graduate thanks Tampa Bay for support at Olympics

RIO DI JANEIRO (WFLA) – Olympic swimmer Melanie Margalis is a Countryside High graduate who is very happy to represent Clearwater and Tampa Bay area on this huge international stage. Only a couple of days away from the race day, she says she is starting to get excited and a little nervous.

She told WFLA Olympic reporter Paul Ryan in an exclusive interview for WFLA that the excitement started getting to her when she saw the competition pool for the first time.

“Well, I wouldn’t say I am not nervous yet,” she said.

She is competing in the 200-meter individual relay. She says she would love to be in the finals and just do the best she can for the United States.

<< WATCH PAUL RYAN’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MELANIE MARGALIS >>

Melanie fondly remembers her days swimming for the Countryside. She was the state champion three times representing the school.

“It really was a lot of fun,” she said. “And I really liked the team aspect. And that’s kind of like what being on the US team is about.”

Living at the Olympic village in Rio, she told Paul that she is enjoying her time there.

“There is a lot of energy in the village,” she said. “There is a lot of live music going around, the base is like bumping in there, we have the parades in the morning, it’s been really cool.”

The swimmer hasn’t had any negative experience in Rio.

“It’s been safe,” she said.

Happy to represent the area and the state, she says the excitement of the people back home is making her excited and she would love to meet other Tampa Bay area athletes at the Olympiad. She had a message for the people on Tampa Bay are who are rooting for her.

“Thank you for all the support,” she said.

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