Olympic champion Dana Vollmer inspires Granbury kids



Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas


Posted on July 31, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 31 at 6:31 PM

GRANBURY — The town of Granbury is known for quaint... not for quick.

But it's speed in the water that has brought the town glory.

Over at the Dana Vollmer pool at the city park, young swimmers think of the little Granbury Seal pup who used to swim here, and they wonder — "What could I achieve?"

"Go into Seals," said 13-year-old Dalton Kennington. "Just try to find what I'm good at."

Kennington wants to be a champ on the Seals' swim team, where Vollmer started, and where Dalton's sister now competes.

But when he hears that Dana Vollmer qualified for the Olympic trials when she was only 12, his face drops in disbelief.

In a Channel 8 interview 12 years ago, Vollmer said, "I don't really find it intimidating. It just makes me want to go faster to show them a 12-year-old can beat them."

Back then, she was trying to beat her best 100 meter butterfly time of just over 1 minute and 3 seconds. In the Olympics, she set a record at a tick under 56 seconds. That's 12 years of training for just over 7 seconds.

That kind of determination is rarer than gold, but a little of the shine already is reflecting on kids in Granbury.

"Just to think that somebody from a small town can become like one of the most famous in the world," said 11-year-old Lexi Light.

They still feel connected to Vollmer. Her mom taught many of them in grade school, and her brother still teaches English and coaches swimming here.

Granbury's mayor has declared Saturday and Sunday "Dana Vollmer free swim weekend" at the Dana Vollmer Municipal Swim Center — a pool party to celebrate a small town girl who made gold.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com