US swimmer Dana Vollmer speaks after ending years of frustration by smashing the 100m butterfly record and winning gold at London 2012. Report by Mark Morris.
Women’s 100m Butterfly
Dana Vollmer, the reigning world champion in the 100m butterfly, made no secret of her goal to smash the 56-second barrier in that event, and she finally pulled it off in Sunday’s finals.
The field was tight for the first half of the race, with Vollmer touching third at the 50-meter mark, six-hundredths of a second behind leader Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark and three-hundredths of a second behind teammate Claire Donahue.
From there, Vollmer inched ahead of the field, building her lead with each stroke down the homestretch. With one last lunge at the wall, she caught that elusive Olympic gold medal and world record. China’s Lu Ying took silver in 56.87, while Australia’s Alicia Coutts took bronze in 56.94. Donahue was seventh in 57.48.
Sunday’s win was the pinnacle of the last four years for Vollmer. After winning gold and helping set a world record in the women’s 4x200m free relay at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, she failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing.
She returned to the pool a year later to set the American record in the 100 fly at the 2009 FINA World Championships, then broke that record four more times between last year’s World Championships and yesterday’s prelims.
Sunday, she became the first American woman to win an Olympic gold in this event since 1996 and the first female swimmer to break the 56-second barrier in the 100 fly.
“For the past year I’ve had my eye on that 55,” Vollmer said. “To be the first person to do that pulls together the experience I’ve had here. There were multiple moments in my career where I didn’t know I was going to be here. I did something no one’s ever done before, and there were a lot of people (family, coaches, friends) who helped me pull it all off.”
(Story courtesy of usaswimming.org)