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Dana Vollmer sets records in 100 butterfly

The swimmer sets an Olympic trials record in the morning qualifying heats, then finishes the evening semifinals in 56.42 seconds, an American record and the fastest time in the world this year.

June 25, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Dana Vollmer competes in the women's 100-meter butterfly semifinals at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb., on Monday.
Dana Vollmer competes in the women's 100-meter butterfly semifinals… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

OMAHA — In the morning, Dana Vollmer set an Olympic trials record in her event. In the evening, she set an American record.

That leaves a world record as the logical target for Vollmer in Tuesday's final of the women's 100 butterfly, after blitzing the field in the morning qualifying heats and evening semifinals.

She could have mumbled something about just trying to swim her best or just hoping to win a spot on the Olympic team, but she publicly embraced the challenge.

The new American record: 56.42 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year. The world record, set three years ago by Sweden's Sarah Sjoestroem: 56.06.

"I'm still hoping for that 55," Vollmer said.

Vollmer, 24, the reigning world champion in the 100 butterfly, never has qualified to swim an individual event in the Olympics.

Vollmer blew away the semifinal field Monday night, a second and a half faster than runner-up Elaine Breeden. Another second and a half separated second place from 15th.

The field apparently will not be able to push Vollmer toward a possible world record. That push will have to come from within, after an American-record swim that looked close to perfect.

"I don't feel perfect," Vollmer said. "So that's exciting for me."

Clary falls short in 400 medley

Tyler Clary had predicted Michael Phelps would not swim the men's 400 individual medley. Phelps did, but Clary would have made the Olympic team had he matched his personal record in the event.

Clary did not. He also did not speak with reporters after the race. His coach, Jon Urbanchek, said Clary had contracted tonsillitis and was taking medication — not that Clary would have been too happy to talk anyway.

"He's not a good loser," Urbanchek said. "Nobody likes good losers.… He's upset. Give him credit. He was willing to take on two of the best swimmers on the planet."

Phelps, the reigning Olympic champion, finished behind Ryan Lochte and ahead of Clary. NBC got one Phelps vs. Lochte showdown in London, but Clary still could make the Olympic team in the 200 backstroke or 200 butterfly.

Clary, 23, who lives in Riverside, trains with Urbanchek at Fullerton Aquatics. The top two in each event make the Olympic team. With Fullerton's Michael Klueh placing third in the men's 400 freestyle, Urbanski joked that he coached two of the three third-place finishers Monday.

"It gets you a ticket to stay home and watch on NBC and drink a beer," Urbanchek said.


The Olympians selected Monday: Lochte and Phelps in the 400 medley; Peter Vanderkaay and Conor Dwyer in the men's 400 freestyle; Elizabeth Beisel and Caitlin Leverenz in the women's 400 medley. … Amanda Beard, trying to make her fifth consecutive Olympic team, will attempt to qualify for the finals of the 100 backstroke Tuesday. Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy are strong favorites for the two Olympic spots. … A fire alarm at the hotel where many swimmers are staying roused many of them from their afternoon naps. Said Phelps: "That woke me up. I was pretty upset walking down eight flights of stairs." Lochte said he also was sleeping and the alarm scared him.

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