Clearwater Olympian returns home with gold

Posted at 10:51 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 02:03:45-04

Melanie Margalis got an Olympic-sized welcome at Tampa International Airport Wednesday. The gold medal winner hugged friends and family, taking pictures with fans and supporters.

"To see my friends and family was really exciting," said Margalis.

Wednesday night, she returned home to where it all began, playing with her new kitten, pajamas on and ready for some much needed rest and relaxation.

"It's been kind of overwhelming, but in a good way," said Margalis.
Not to mention exhausting... The state champion swimmer from Countryside High has been on an unbelievable ride, winning gold as part of the women's relay team, placing fourth in here individual final. She says it's a culmination of years of commitment.

"People kept laughing at me because I would walk out, and I would just be looking around, you walk out and everyone is cheering for you, this huge arena, there's just so much noise," said Margalis. "It's so awesome."

It was a dream come true that really wasn't a dream at all.

"Back then, it wasn't about the Olympics for me, I always wanted to swim on a college team and that just seemed really special for me," said Margalis.

She landed the scholarship, graduated in 2014, and won gold in 2016. Now she's thirsty for more.

"You know, I think I want to go back in four years and get that individual medal for myself," said Margalis.

And based on her past, she's got a great chance to do just that.