Former Cal swimmer Dana Vollmer got her 2012 Olympic Games off to a blazing start early Saturday morning.
The 24-year-old Cal grad set a new Olympic record and lowered her own American record in the prelims of the 100-meter butterfly when she touched the wall in 56.25 seconds. For Vollmer, the record is nice, but it really only serves as an important step toward winning the gold medal.
"I felt really good," Vollmer told reporters after the race. "I like to push myself in the prelims and see where I'm going in my body. I did feel like I was kind of pacing myself and building up to get faster. Walking in I just had to remind myself that I love racing and the 100m fly is my favorite event. I feel so much better. I'm a completely different person to what I was four years ago."
After her record-breaking swim in the prelims, Vollmer backed it up by qualifying for the finals with a time of 56.36 seconds -- the top time of the semifinals.
Vollmer is aiming to become the first American to win gold in the 100 fly since Amy van Dyken did it at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The previous Olympic record was 56.61 by The Netherlands’ Inge de Bruijn, which was set at the 2000 Sydney Games. Vollmer’s time was the fourth fastest of all time.
The final is schedule for 11:30 AM PT on Sunday.