Cal Grad Dana Vollmer Wins Gold

A slow start with a lightning fast finish means gold for UC graduate.

UC Berkeley graduate Dana Vollmer on Sunday won an Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly in London. In doing so, the former Cal star also set a world record.

Vollmer said it took her a couple seconds after the race ended to realize she had set the record. She blamed foggy goggles for the delay.

Vollmer hit the wall in 55.98 seconds to shave 0.08 off the previous mark set by Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden at the 2009 world championships in Rome.

 Lu Ying of China touched second in 56.87 and Alicia Coutts of Australia finished third in 56.94.

“To be the first woman under 56, it’s absolutely incredible,” Vollmer told the New York Times after the win.

During her gold medal race, she actually had a rough start and was in third placce at the half way mark Sunday night, but she really turned it on for the final 50 meters.

“I kept telling myself your main strength is yoursecond 50,”  Vollmer told the New York Times.

Vollmer is the first American to win gold in the 100 fly since Amy van Dyken did it at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

She tweeted prior to the final, "Here we go America!! All I can ask of myself is my best, and I am so ready to bring it!"

Vollmer, who is 6-foot 1, played soccer and basketball as a teenager. She also has a love of gymmastics. She made the Olympic team in 2004, but just missed a spot in 2008.

Vollmer got her 2012 Olympic Games off to a blazing start Saturday, when she set a new Olympic record  in the prelims of the 100-meter butterfly when she touched the wall in 56.25 seconds.

"I felt really good," Vollmer told reporters after Saturday's 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 heats, Vollmer backed it up by qualifying for the finals with a time of 56.36 seconds -- the top time of the semifinals.

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