In the finals of the women's 100m butterfly on Sunday at the 2012 Olympics in London, Dana Vollmer appeared especially driven. Perhaps it was as a result of failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Perhaps it was to prove that she had not merely been an athlete that peaked too young after winning gold as a 16-year-old at the 2004 Summer Games. Or perhaps she simply knew that she was the best in the world at her event and was setting out to remove all doubt.
Whatever the reason for her furious pace on Sunday, she smashed the world record in the event and claimed the gold medal for the United States. She finished in 55.98 seconds, well ahead of Lu Ying of China, who took the silver with a time of 56.87. Vollmer becomes the first woman to ever finish the event in under 56 seconds.
Karen Crouse of the New York Times reports that Vollmer -- who rekindled her drive and passion for swimming after missing the 2008 games while teaching children in Fiji how to swim -- is well aware of her place in the record books, even if she may not have been the first to know she set the new mark.
"To be the first woman under 56, it's absolutely incredible," Vollmer said.
"I kept telling myself your main strength is your second 50," said Vollmer, who was the only finalist to cover the final 50 in under 30 seconds.
"I didn't know if I had gotten the world record," she said. "It takes me a little bit to see and get my goggles unfogged."
The Associated Press, meanwhile, captured this particularly telling quote from Vollmer:
"I'm on top of the world right now." she said. "I still know I can go faster."
Dana Vollmer's opponents can now consider themselves officially on notice.
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