American Vollmer shatters world record

American Vollmer shatters world record

24-year-old wins 100M butterfly; SAs Burgh sets world mark in 100M breaststroke

Dana Vollmer ended a lifetime of frustration and battles with her health to win the 100 metres butterfly gold medal in world record time at the London Olympics on Sunday.

 America’s Dana Vollmer celebrates after winning gold and setting world record in the women’s 100 metre butterfly in the London Games on Sunday. AFP

The American, swimming like a woman possessed, powered her way through two laps of the Aquatic Centre to win in 55.98 seconds, slicing 0.08 off the previous mark set by Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom at the 2009 world championships in Rome.

China's Lu Ying finished second while Australia's Alicia Coutts, a gold medallist in the 4x100 freestyle relay on Saturday, was third and Sjostrom fourth but all the plaudits went to Vollmer.

While Vollmer won a relay gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the 24-year-oldswimmer  had never competed in an individual event at the Games before London.
In 2000, she was a bright-eyed 12-year-old at the US trials and did not qualify for the Games at all. In 2004 she was a surprise qualifier, but only in relay, and was earmarked as a future champion.

In 2008, however, the combination of a mystery illness and the weight of expectation got the better of her and she failed to make the American team. In 2003, she underwent heart surgery to correct a condition which produced a faster than normal pulse and forced her to take a defibrillator to all her races and training sessions.

But it wa s an allergy to eggs that held her back for many more years. When it was finally diagnosed, after missing out on the Beijing Olympic team, she was put on a new gluten-free diet.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Van der Burgh won the gold in the men’s 100M breast stroke in world record time -- 58.46 seconds. Australia’s Christian Sprenger came second in 58.93, while US’ Brendan Hansen finished third in 59.49 seconds.

Sun shines

Sun Yang and Ryan Lochte set up a mouthwatering clash that could decide bragging rights for the outstanding swimmer at the London Olympics when they booked their places in Monday's 200 metres freestyle final.

Sun, who won the 400 freestyle on Saturday to become the first Chinese man to win an Olympic swimming gold, clocked the fastest time of one minute, 45.61 seconds in Sunday's semifinals.

Lochte, who won the 400 individual medley gold on Saturday, swam a more conservative semi, saving his energy for the men's 4x100 freestyle relay final, which was due to take place about an hour later at London's Aquatic Centre.

The American swimmer finished second in his heat behind German world record holder Paul Biedermann and fifth overall.

Frenchman Yannick Agnel was second overall after finishing a close second to Sun in the semi-finals while South Korea's Park Tae-hwan was third.

Park finished runner-up to Sun in the 400 free after being disqualified in the heats but winning an appeal to be reinstated.

Michael Phelps, who won the race in Beijing four years ago, did not enter this time despite winning the event at the US trials.

Women: 100M butterfly: Dana Vollmer (US) 55.98 seconds. WR (Old: 56.06, Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 2009 Rome World Championships) 1; Lu Ying (China) 56.87, 2; Alicia Coutts (Australia) 56.94, 3.

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