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London Olympics 2012

Dana Vollmer

Dana VollmerDana VollmerDana VollmerDana VollmerDana Vollmer

Dana Vollmer, born November 13, 1987 in Syracuse, New York is an American swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, and world record holder. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece she won a gold medal as a member of the winning United States team in the 4X200 meter freestyle relay that set the world record in the event. Eight years later at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Vollmer set the world record en route to a Gold Medal in the 100 meter butterfly. Vollmer has won a total of twenty-eight medals in major international competitions, including sixteen gold, eight silver, and four bronze, spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan American Games, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Goodwill Games. As a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team she won the 100 meter butterfly and will compete in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay and the 4x100 meter medley relay at the XXX Olympiad in London.

Vollmer was born in Syracuse, New York, and grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex suburb of Granbury, Texas. As a child, Vollmer swam for coach Ron Forrest at the Fort Worth Area Swim Team (FAST). In college she initially swam for the University of Florida, before transferring to the University of California at Berkeley. In 2003, Vollmer underwent heart surgery to correct a condition called supraventricular tachycardia, which produces a quickened pulse rate of about 240 beats per minute. After that surgery, an EKG indicated that she might have Long QT Syndrome; however, further testing indicated that she did not have the syndrome. Nonetheless, her heart condition demands that a defibrillator be kept poolside when she swims as a precautionary measure. Vollmer is married to Andy Grant, a former Stanford swimmer.

At age 12, she was the youngest swimmer competing at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, but she failed to make the team. She was also the youngest competitor to swim at the 2001 Goodwill Games. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, she was a member of the United States' gold medal winning 4x200 meter freestyle relay team; as well as winning the gold medal, the team broke the previous world record that had stood for 17 years. At the 2007 World Aquatics Championships, Vollmer won a gold medal in the 4x200 meter freestyle. She also won silver in the 4x100 meter freestyle and the 4x100 meter medley. On February 25, 2009, she set her first individual American record, breaking Natalie Coughlin's 200 yard freestyle record with a time of 1:41.53. At the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Vollmer won two medals a silver and a bronze. In the 200 meter freestyle, Vollmer set an American record in the semifinals with a time of 1:55.29. In the final of the 200 meter freestyle, Vollmer placed third and her American record was broken by Allison Schmitt. In the 4x200 meter freestyle relay, Vollmer swam the leadoff leg in 1:55.29. The American team finished in second place behind China with a time of 7:42.56.

At the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, Vollmer won a total of three medals, two golds and one silver. In her first event, the 4×100 meter freestyle relay, Vollmer won a silver medal with Natalie Coughlin, Jessica Hardy, and Missy Franklin. After setting the national record in the semifinals of the 100 meter butterfly, Vollmer won gold in the final with a time of 56.87. In the 4×100 meter medley relay, Vollmer won gold with Natalie Coughlin, Rebecca Soni, and Missy Franklin with a time of 3:52.36, over three seconds ahead of second-place finisher China. Swimming the butterfly leg, Vollmer had a split of 55.74. The final time of 3:52.36 for the medley relay was the second-fastest effort of all time, just behind the Chinese owned world record of 3:52.19. At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials, the qualifying meet for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Vollmer qualified for the Olympic team for the second time (the first being in 2004) by finishing first in the 100-meter butterfly and third in the 200-meter freestyle. In the final of the 100-meter butterfly, Vollmer won in a time of 56.50, over a second ahead of Claire Donahue. In the semi-finals, Vollmer broke her own American record of 56.47 with a time of 56.42. Vollmer also competed in the 100-meter freestyle, but just missed a spot on the 4×100-meter freestyle relay by finishing seventh (54.61). In London, she again broke her American record and set an Olympic record with a time of 56.25 in her 100m butterfly qualifying heat. In the ensuing 100m butterfly final, she broke the world record and won a gold medal with a time of 55.98.

"After 2008, it took me a little to make the transition to even know that I wanted to swim again," Vollmer said. "As soon as I decided that, I knew I did love the sport and I loved competing. I think it took not making it in 2008 for me to realize I can do this a different way and that I need to change not only my mental approach to racing, but what I am doing for training."

Enter the warmth and exclusion of Fiji, where Vollmer was essentially stashed away by her University of California coach, Teri McKeever, for the entire 2008 Olympics. It was half rehabilitation and half witness protection - to refresh Vollmer's love for her sport and to shield her from seeing what she may have missed in Beijing. A place where Vollmer could swim in the open ocean, including one open-water race, and let go of the feeling that she had disappointed those around her.

"We just felt like we needed to get her out of the United States and, for lack of a better way of putting it, her own pity party," McKeever said. "She doesn't even know what happened in the 2008 Olympics."

It was that trip that began to change everything for Vollmer, changing how she approached the sport and dealt with all of the pitfalls that came with it. And that was no small task. Vollmer had years of set pathways to work through. This was a woman who made her first Olympic trials at 12 years old and her first Olympic team in the 2004 Athens Games at 17. She won two relay gold medals in the 2004 world championships, then defaulted on all of the expectations that she would be one of the elite U.S. women in Beijing. In a word, this path had led to a feeling of "doom," Vollmer said. And the retreat to the solitude of Fiji became a necessary refuge.

"I got to do an open-water race for the first time, and it just really made me realize that I loved being in the water, and I loved swimming, and I had a blast doing that open-water swim," Vollmer said. "It made me realize that the biggest issues were the injuries and the training and the pressure that I was putting on myself mentally. I look back to 2008 and I wasn't excited to race and compete. I was more worried about what happened if I failed, and who did I let down, and how that would look for Teri and my hometown. I crumbled under that. I couldn't take that all on."

And thus began a four-year reprogramming -- learning that she could survive injuries, that she needed to conquer a food allergy, and that expectations needed to be detached from simply loving her time in the water. The rebuild was steady and efficient, and culminated in a turning point at the 2012 trials. Confronted with a bout of strep throat on the first day of competition -- and lingering memories of 2008 -- Vollmer adapted and put on a clinic in her butterfly event. She swam like someone who could not only win a gold medal, but also deliver a world record, too. It was the realization of a message McKeever had delivered to Vollmer one year before the 2012 trials.

"I told her - 'It doesn't matter what you feel like, we're going to do it, so you better figure out a way to get it done,'" McKeever said.

Dana Vollmer

gold medal Gold Medal       gold medal Silver Medal     gold medal Bronze Medal

See more of Dana at: www.danavollmer.com

source: www.wikipedia.org


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