American Dana Vollmer wins gold, sets world record in 100-meter butterfly
LONDON -- Dana Vollmer won a gold medal and set a world record, too.
On a night featuring a much-anticipated men's relay, Vollmer, who didn't even qualify for the 2008 Games, got things started with a bang Sunday in the 100-meter butterfly.
She was third at the turn but powered to the wall for a time of 55.98 seconds, beating the record of 56.06 set by Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom in a since-banned high-tech bodysuit at the 2009 world championships.
The American dropped back her head when she saw the time, then broke into a huge smile, slapped the water and pumped her fists.
"I'm on top of the world right now." she said. "I still know I can go faster."
Vollmer, who made the Olympics as a 16-year-old in 2004, was a huge disappointment when she failed to make the team in Beijing in 2008. She was slowed by injuries and health problems, making her question whether she even wanted to continue swimming. But her injuries healed and a change in diet gave her a new outlook. She came close to breaking Sjostrom's record at the U.S. Olympic trials last month, and set an Olympic record in the semifinals to come in as the top qualifier.
Now she's an Olympic champion.
"I kept telling myself that my strength is my second 50," she said. "I kept really calm."