swimmer Dana Vollmer wins in 2011Four years ago, Dana Vollmer, devastated and dispirited by injuries, considered walking away from the sport she loved, but instead, with the help of her Berkeley coach, made a dramatic turnaround that led yesterday to a gold medal victory in London and breaking the world record in the 100-meter butterfly.

She became the first woman to break the 56-second barrier, winning her signature event at the Olympics Sunday in 55.98 seconds.

Vollmer, 24, from Granbury, Texas, has been a huge inspiration throughout her career. She overcame two heart defects as a teenager to qualify for the 2004 Olympic team and win her first gold medal in a relay.

Her mother carted around a defibrillator to every practice and meet, ready to jumpstart her heart should it stop beating. According to Everyday Health, Dana is an example of an athlete who took the risk to keep swimming and has thrived, despite the one-time diagnosis of long QT syndrome.

(READ the full story in the Mercury News – Watch Vollmer interview below, from ITN)

Here is a cool, underwater video from the NY Times showing why Dana does the Butterfly so well: www.nytimes.com/interactive/londonlive

Visit her website at www.danavollmer.com

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