Dana Vollmer has a gold medal and a world record, too

Posted Sunday, Jul. 29, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
A

Watch video

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

There was no doubt in anyone's mind that Dana Vollmer would win the gold medal Sunday night. She knew it. Her coach knew it. Her competitors knew it.

The only question was whether the world record would come with it.

"I thought there was a world record there, but I was kind of like every swimming geek, watching the yellow line [on television]," said Teri McKeever, Vollmer's coach as well as the U.S. women's swim coach.

Everyone else at the Aquatics Centre knew before Vollmer did that she had become the first female 100-meter butterflier ever to break 56 seconds.

"I didn't know, honestly, with how my finish was," Vollmer said. "I knew I was in the lead, but I didn't know if I had gotten the world record like I wanted. It takes me a little bit to be able to see the clock, to get my goggles unfogged."

The smile on her face told the story: She got the icing on her cake.

The Granbury product won in 55.98, breaking the old mark of 56.06 set by Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom in 2009. It was only the second world record achieved by a female swimmer since the hi-tech suits were banned in 2010.

It is a time Vollmer has sought since the U.S. Olympic trials last month, and three times she has flirted with a sub-56-second time since stating her goal publicly. She was on world-record pace halfway through both of her prelim swims Saturday, only to come up just short.

"The last big goal time I set for myself was breaking 50 seconds in short course, and for years I tried to get it, and I never did," Vollmer said. "So I didn't know if, in saying the time, it was going to make something I never seemed to get. That made it part of the excitement of touching the wall and realizing that I had."

Vollmer, 24, now officially has put 2008 behind her. She was asked only one question about when she had failed to make the Olympic team four years ago, finishing fifth in her specialty at the U.S. trials.

"When I walked out of the trials in 2008, I didn't know if I would rediscover my love of the sport," Vollmer said. "Throughout my career, I'd just had so many injuries. It took not making it in 2008 to make me realize I can do this a different way, and I need to change not only my mental approach, but what I'm doing for training."

In the past four years, Vollmer has gotten her back and her left shoulder healed, eliminated gluten and eggs from her diet, gotten married, added ocean swimming to her training and found a way to deal with meet stress. She is a different person in a different place, which is why she was on the top step of the podium, listening to the national anthem played just for her Sunday night.

"She's learned how to take whatever life's giving her and know she can deal with it," McKeever said. "What a great gift that is.

"You don't do something like this in the last week; you do it in a process. It's been a journey, and she's really grown a lot."

All Sunday did, really, was validate Vollmer as the best in the world in her event. She has not lost a 100-meter fly final since before the world championships last summer, and now she has an individual Olympic gold medal, her first, and a world record.

The world, indeed, is hers.

Charean Williams,

817-390-7697

Twitter: @NFLCharean

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, September 16Full Scoreboard
Toronto2Final | Box
Baltimore «8
Boston0Final | Box
Pittsburgh «4
Washington «3Final | Box
Atlanta0
Miami1Final | Box
NY Mets «9
NY Yankees1Final | Box
Tampa Bay «6
Cincinnati0Final | Box
Chicago Cubs «7
Cleveland4Top 9th | Box
Houston2@theBallpark | TV: STO, CSN-HOU
Chicago WSox4Top 7th | Box
Kansas City5@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-KC
Detroit3Final | Box
Minnesota «4
Milwaukee2Bottom 10th | Box
St. Louis2@theBallpark | TV: FSN-WI, FSN-MW, ESPN
Los Angeles2Top 8th | Box
Colorado7@theBallpark | TV: SportsNet LA, ROOT-RM
San Francisco1Top 7th | Box
Arizona1@theBallpark | TV: CSN-BA, FSN-AZ
Seattle0Bottom 4th | Box
LA Angels2@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-NW, FSN-W
Texas3Bottom 4th | Box
Oakland0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-SW, CSN-CA
Philadelphia1Bottom 4th | Box
San Diego2@theBallpark | TV: CSN-PHI, FSN-SD
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 16Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 3Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Tampa Bay 8:25 PM ET
Atlanta TV: CBS, NFL Network
Sunday
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Green Bay 1:00 PM ET
Detroit TV: FOX
Indianapolis 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
New Orleans TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
NY Giants TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: FOX
Dallas 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Kansas City 4:25 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Denver 4:25 PM ET
Seattle TV: CBS
Pittsburgh 8:30 PM ET
Carolina TV: NBC
Monday
Chicago 8:30 PM ET
NY Jets TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 16Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard