Thursday, September 6, 2012

dana vollmer, olympic comeback.

dana vollmer spent the 2008 summer olympics in fiji,
thinking about why she wasn't in beijing.

the native texan — who had competed in her first meet at age 4,
who at 12yo was the youngest swimmer ever to compete in the u.s. olympic trials,
who in 2004, at 16yo, helped set the world record &
won gold in the 800m freestyle relay at the athens games —
hadn't even made the team for the 2008 games.

vollmer had a history of health issues — supra ventricular tachycardia,
a racing-heartbeat arrhythmia she'd had surgery to correct,
followed by back, shoulder & knee injuries.
but her biggest challenge was her mindset: she was just too focused in
on other people's expectations, & she had buckled under the pressure.

over the next four years, vollmer graduated from college,
changed up her training, changed her diet upon discovering
she was suffering from an allergy to gluten & eggs,
& got married.

& she came to the 2012 olympic trials lifted up with energy & excitement,
rather than weighed down by others' expectations.

& she went on to win a gold trifecta.

the 24yo set the world record & won gold with a time of 55.98
in the 100m butterfly, despite losing her outer swimcap during the race
[the inner cap covers hair; the outer cap holds goggles & smoothes bumpiness].
lu ying of china was almost a full second behind vollmer for the silver,
while australia's alicia coutts earned the bronze.

vollmer proceeded to win gold medals in the other two events in which she swam —
the 4x200m freestyle relay, where she swam the second leg, with
missy franklin, allison schmitt & shannon vreeland, &
the 4x100m medley relay, where she swam the butterfly leg, & helped set
a new world record with missy franklin, allison schmitt & rebecca soni.

dana vollmer, with her spectacular butterfly stroke, soared in london —
thanks to a little necessary cocoon time in fiji.

1 comment:

Mrs. Blake said...

You know I have a thing for butterflies! Although that stroke was always second to my favorite, freestyle, it is the most beautiful to watch (in my humble opinion). :) Lovely writing, KC, as always.