After suffering setback after setback and missing out on the chance to qualify for the U.S. team in 2008, Dana Vollmer was out for redemption when she hit the pool this week. With help from coach Teri McKeever, Vollmer put the past behind her and booked a trip to London.
The place was here, the CenturyLink Center, site of the 2008 Olympic Swim Trials that Vollmer turned into an exercise in self-destruction. A 2004 Olympian expected to have a big presence in Beijing in 2008, Vollmer instead whiffed. She finished fifth in the 100-meter butterfly, seventh in the 200 freestyle and didn’t even make the finals of the 50 and 100 free.
She even flinched on the starting block at the beginning of one race, a mistake normally made by nerve-addled rookies.
The feeling she had that miserable, pressurized week: "Doom."
So coming back to the pool that bedeviled her, Vollmer and her coach, California’s Teri McKeever, basically performed an exorcism on the place. They walked around it like they’d never been here before, getting introduced to it for the first time. When it was time to get in the water, Vollmer opted to "un-intensify the pool" by doing some off-the-wall stuff first: underwater swims, jumps, even some handstands in the warm-up pool with a teammate.
"I was realizing and telling myself I am in such a different place now, and when I think about myself and how I feel in the water, I was confident in what I could do," Vollmer said. "I just had to keep my mind off of how I felt in 2008 and just focus on where I am now."
Where she is now is booked for London. Tuesday night, Vollmer completed her Omaha exorcism with an emphatic victory in the 100 fly. After a confidence-building American record swim in the event in the semifinals Monday, Vollmer missed that mark by just .08 Tuesday in winning by the chasm of 1.07 seconds over Claire Donahue of Western Kentucky University.
Are you watching the NBA Draft tonight? Keep an eye out in the second round in case someone decides to draft Jorge (I'm talking to you, Greg Popovich). More delicious links after the jump.
- Vollmer also received inspiration from her husband Andy and her bulldog Mallie.
- Vollmer joins Caitlyn Leverenz, Stephanie Au, Hannah Wilson, Sara Isakovic, and Lauren Boyle as Bears in the Olympics. Only Vollmer and Leverenz will represent the US, however.
- The legendary Natalie Coughlin has one more chance to earn a spot on the Olympic team, Friday morning in the 100 freestyle.
- David Torrence talks about what brought him to track and discusses his Olympic aspirations.
- 2012 NCAA Champion at pommel horse, Glen Ishino will compete at this week's Olympic trials.
- Erin Cafaro, Julie Nichols, and Kara Kohler will row for the Olympic team while current women's rowing head coach Dave O'Neill and Cal alum Laurel Korholz will serve as assistant coaches.
- Cal is sending more than just athletes and coaches to the Olympics. The university's head sports physician Cindy Chang will serve as the US team's chief medical officer.
- Cal finished 11th in this year's Director's Cup. We were only 7.5 points away from the seventh consecutive top-ten finish under Sandy Barbour.
- Sandy Barbour confirms that we will not get new uniforms this season. FFFFFFUUUUUUUU
- Aaron Rodgers has been voted as the best player in the league last season.
- WSU Football Blog looks at 10 possible (likely?) Pac-12 upsets this fall. Cal is neither upset nor the one doing the upsetting in any case.
- Wilner has links to several reactions to the BCS playoff approval as well as his own thoughts on the winners and losers of the big change.
- Uncle Ted looks at the best of times and the blurst of times under the BCS. The Mack Brown incident of 2004 was named an honorable mention.
- The playoff format will cure all that ails the BCS, right? Probably not, says Monte Poole.
- Despite having Keenan Allen as the only proven receiver on roster, the Bears are in "good shape" at the position.
- Like half the Pac-12, Cal is in "great shape" at running back.
- Keenan Allen and Matt Summers-Gavin were selected to the Blue Ribbon preseason All-Pac-12 squad.
- RushTheCourt.net has a Q+A with CGB about the upcoming basketball season. In fact, they had a whole week of stories on Cal basketball.
- After traveling through Ireland, the women's team has moved onto Scotland. Nicola Roessler recaps day one of the trip.