KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Erika Brown rose from her seat within the rooftop picnic area of Tennessee's athletic communications office and reached for her purse. She grabbed two circular, black cases and set them on a small table. After removing the lids, her bronze and silver medals brightly reflected the light from the sun.
That may have been the most light they had seen since Brown won them during the 2020 Olympics. The VFL actually stashed them in her closet shortly after she returned to Knoxville.
"That's where all my SEC stuff is," she said. That stuff includes 23 SEC medals. Eighteen of them are gold, by the way.
"I don't want to look super arrogant," Brown added with a humble smile on her face.
The 22-year-old swimmer is only the second Lady Vol to medal twice during a single Olympics. She did not do anything major to celebrate; just a dinner with family. That is because she does not want all the glory for her accomplishments. She prefers to put her faith on the podium.
"My faith is super important to me, so just praying and being at peace. That really helped me," she said.
Brown keeps a Bible scripture on her phone, so she can refer to it when needed. The same way she refers to her training when racing against the world's best swimmers. Leaning on those things calmed her nerves in Tokyo.
"Sometimes it can be overwhelming [while] swimming and feeling like I have to do this. But, just knowing that it's for the Lord and it's His glory, not mine, just gives me a sense of peace.
That peace gave her two Olympic medals.
Brown is already training for upcoming meets and has goals to represent the United States in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.