Dana was raised in Granbury, Texas
and found great swimming success at a young age under Coach Ron Forrest at
the Fort Worth Area Swim Team. At age
12, she was the youngest swimmer competing at the 2000 US Olympic
Trials. To this day Vollmer
remains at the top of her
sport. Vollmer won
four national titles
and played a key
role in taking the University of
California Golden Bears to their first
NCAA championship. Beyond
college, Vollmer is having
fun pursuing her career
as a pro swimmer.
She continues to train
in Berkeley, Calif. under
Coach Teri McKeever and
she is married to Stanford
Swimming alumnus Andy Grant.
Dana’s greatest success in the pool
came in 2012. At the London Olympics she won three gold medals and set two world records. Dana won gold medals in the 800 meter freestyle relay, the 400 meter medley relay and the 100 meter butterfly setting a world record and best time of 55.98. She was the first woman ever to swim the event under 56 seconds.
Dana is a proud ambasador for the American Heart Association. Due to Dana's experience with a heart condition as a child, she is proud to support AHA in their mission to educate women about heart disease, the number one killer of women. Read more about heart disease at heart.org.
Almost nine years ago, Dana was a high school Olympic hopeful in Granbury, Texas, when she noticed that her heart rate would not slow down after races. "Years ago, I had to have surgery to correct my quickened heart rate, and when we went to the doctor, they found that I had signs of Long QT (Syndrome)," says Dana. "It is when you have an electrical circuit in your heart that causes irregular beats."
Long QT syndrome can cause fainting, cardiac arrest and even sudden death. This medical diagnosis would be an immense load for any 15-year-old to carry, but Vollmer didn't let it stop her from getting back into the water.
Her mother carried a portable defibrillator to every meet as a precaution, but Dana kept the medical machine out of sight and out of mind. She even, superstitiously, refused to touch it. "I had never shown symptoms before, so I just forgot about it and acted like there was nothing wrong," says Dana. "My mom was much more worried than I was, she was the one who had to carry around the defibrillator to all of my meets-I never touched the thing."
Dana admits now that her mom carried most of the burden. In order to allow Dana to compete like everything was fine, her mom took on the stress of being ready at all times with the defibrillator and making midnight trips to Dana's room to make sure she was breathing normally.
In her first Olympic appearance at the Athens Olympics in 2004, Dana won a gold medal and set a world record in the 800-meter freestyle relay. And she accomplished all of this with her mother in the stands with the defibrillator-ready to run to her daughter's side at the sign of any complications, but hoping that she would never have the chance to use it.
After her freshman year in college, Dana was relieved that she no longer showed signs of Long QT. At the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Dana earned a silver and a bronze medal. She won numerous awards for her success in 2009, including NCAA Swimmer of the Year. For her stunning turnaround, Dana earned the 2009 Golden Goggle Perseverance Award.
Dana has spoken at many events to promote and educate her community about heart health, including:
Go Red for Women Luncheon - Silicon Valley, CA (2012)
Go Red for Women Luncheon - San Francisco, CA (2012)
TEDx - San Jose, CA (2013)
Simon's Fund Award Honoree - Philadelphia, PA (2013)
Go Red for Women Luncheon - Las Vegas, NV (2013)
Women's Day Red Dress Award Honoree - NY, NY (2013)
Go Red for Women Luncheon - Anchorage, AL (2013)
Go Red for Women Luncheon - Nashville, TN (2013)
Go Red for Women Luncheon - Santa Rosa, CA (2013)
Go Red for Women Luncheon - Fort Worth, TX (2014)
Go Red for Women Luncheon - Reno, NV (2014)
Won gold in the 800m free relay, the 400m medley relay (WR) and the 100m fly, setting a WR and a best time of 55.98 at the 2012 Olympic Games in London...Qualified for the 2012 Olympic team by finishing first in the 100m fly (setting both a U.S. Open record and American record in prelims and semis, respectively) and third in the 200m free ... At the 2011 FINA World Championships, Dana clocked an American and textile-best effort of 56.47 during the 100m butterfly in the semifinals... she went on to capture the GOLD medal in the finals with a 56.87, a gold medal in the 4x100m medley relay, and a silver medal in the 400m freestyle relay... Captured silver in the 800m free relay and bronze in the 200m free at the 2009 FINA World Championships... won the 100m and 200m free at the 2009 National Championships ... claimed NCAA titles in the 100y and 200y free and the 400y and 800y free relays; was a key member of Cals first NCAA team championship, named NCAA Swimmer of the Yr, Pac-10 Swimmer of the Yr and Honda Sports Award Winner for swimming in 2009 ... member of the world-record-setting 800m free relay at the 2007 World Championships ... earned gold as a member of the 800m free relay at the 2006 Pan Pacifics ... gold medalist on the 800m free relay that broke a 17-yr-old world record at the 2004 Olympics, also finishing 6th in the 200m freestyle.
To learn more about Dana, follow her blog: FlyingFree.com