Follow Dana Vollmer on Twitter @DanaVollmer.
World Record holder Dana Vollmer’s status with swimming has been one of the great head-scratchers of the last year. At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, she swam a 55.98 in the 100 meter fly to win gold and break the World Record. She then raced another year to a quiet bronze medal at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships, and despite never officially retiring, hasn’t been seen in a competitive pool since.
Today, that mystery got some clarity when Vollmer announced via Twitter that she and her husband Andy Grant (a former Stanford swimmer) are expecting their first child in February of 2015. That puts Vollmer at around 5 months pregnant already.
This means that a Vollmer return won’t be expected any time soon. While the Americans have some good potential and talent in the 100 fly, as they always do, right now that is a weak leg of United States’ medley relay and the part that leaves them vulnerable at the 2015 World Championships and 2016 Olympics. That torch is now in the hands of Kendyl Stewart and Claire Donahue. Stewart was within two-tenths of Australia’s Alicia Coutts at the Pan Pac Championships in the 100 fly, earning bronze, which is a good sign.
Based on the 2013 World Championships, though, it’s going to take at least a 57.0 to medal individually in the 100 fly in Rio. The Americans have medaled in 5 of the last 6 Olympic Games in the 100 fly, dating back to 1992. Stewart’s best is 57.8 and Donahue’s best is 57.4 – but she hasn’t been under 58 since the 2012 Olympics.
Vollmer made the announcement in a very swimmer-appropriate manner, using a Stanford cap for her husband and a Cal cap to represent her share in the effort.