(Photo: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports)
LONDON - Dana Vollmer touched the wall and looked back at the scoreboard. She'd won gold. That much she knew. But what about the world record she wanted, too?
"It takes me a little bit to able to see the clock," she said, "get my goggles unfogged."
And then she saw it: 55.98. She smiled, pumping her arm in glee.
No woman had ever gone 100 meters in the butterfly in less than 56 seconds before. And now she had done it at the Olympics.
"And it was just absolutely incredible to be there in front of that crowd with my parents and my husband in the stands," she said. "It was everything I could have dreamed it would have been."
Vollmer shaved .08 off the record set in 2009 by Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom and 0.63 off the Olympic record set at the 2000 Sydney Games by the Netherlands' Inge de Bruijn.
Vollmer was third at the turn, behind Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray and teammate Claire Donahue.
"I kept telling myself that my strength is my second 50," Vollmer said. She'd talked about that with coach Teri McKeever.
"In semifinals, I tried to push that first 50, and it really hurt the second one," Vollmer said. "So just really rely on my strengths. And so I was really calm. You know, normally I'm not in the lead after my start. And so just setting it up well ... in that first 50 and really charging my way home."
Ying Liu of China won silver in 56.87 seconds and Alicia Coutts of Australia bronze in 56.94. That 56 is a familiar number for top women's fliers.
Vollmer is the first to drive 55 in the pool's fast lane.