Overland Park swimmer Shannon Vreeland earns gold medal in 4x200m relay

In her Olympic debut, Overland Park swimmer Shannon Vreeland helped the U.S. win the gold medal in the 4x200m relay.

The team also set an Olympic record in the event with a time of 7:42.92. Vreeland swam the third leg of the winning relay.

PHOTOS: Shannon Vreeland wins gold medal http://bit.ly/NVAANx

Australia, who was leading going into the final leg of the event, took the silver when Vreeland's teammate, Allison Schmitt outswam Aussie swimmer Alicia Coutt. France took home a bronze medal in the event.

Vreeland, a graduate of Blue Valley West High School, helped Team USA qualify for the finals second overall among two heats earlier Wednesday.

The 20-year-old swims at the University of Georgia with Schmitt.

In a Skype interview with 41 Action News after winning the gold, Vreeland said it hasn't quite sunk in yet that she's an Olympic gold medalist.

RELATED | Vreeland thrust into Olympic spotlight: http://bit.ly/Qj4lKt

She said that when she was growing up, watching other athletes stand up at the podium while the national anthem played was one of her favorite parts about the Olympics.

"That part of the Olympics has always been special to me," she said. "Getting to actually experience it myself was more than a dream come true."

Vreeland said she celebrated the win by having a McFlurry and fries at McDonald's.

She missed the opening ceremony last Friday because of a slight illness, but said she didn't miss practice and was never in danger of missing competition Wednesday.

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