Dana Vollmer didn’t just win Cal’s first gold medal of the Olympics, she did so in a special kind of fashion.
Vollmer’s outer cap fell off in the first half of the 100 fly, and her time at the halfway point of the race was only the third-fastest. But a less-streamlined Vollmer swam the race of her life, setting a world record en route to her gold medal finish.
The 2009 Swimmer of the Year became the first female swimmer to crack the 56-second barrier in the event, finishing with a time of 55.98. What makes her performance even more impressive is that Vollmer thinks she can go even faster.
“I still know I can go faster,” she told NBC after the race.
A day after setting an Olympic record in the prelims of the event, Vollmer made up for an emotionally ambiguous first day for the American swimmers, where Coughlin took the bronze in what could have been the final Olympic event of her career, the 400 free relay. Vollmer will next swim on Wednesday, where she will try to nab her second medal in the 800 free relay.
Fans of Cal swimming have to be a little disappointed there weren’t two gold medals on Sunday.
Nathan Adrian led off the final of the 400 free relay for the Americans, and the former Cal star looked poised for his first gold in the final as his team led after the first three legs. But a stunning anchor leg by Frenchman Yannick Agnel pushed the Americans down the podium, as Ryan Lochte conceded the lead in the final 100 meters.
Adrian won a gold medal in the same event in Beijing in 2008, but didn’t compete in the final.
Both Cal water polo players in action had good days, as Aleksa Saponjic’s Serbian team took down Hungary, 14-10, sending the three-time defending gold medalists to their first loss since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. John Mann and Team USA were also victorious, taking down Montenegro, 8-7.
Former Cal basketball player Max Zhang competed for China, playing seven minutes and scoring two points in their 97-81 loss to Spain on Sunday.
Erin Cafaro and the USA women’s eight finished second in Sunday’s heats. Julie Nichols finished sixth in the heats of the lightweight women’s sculls.