Feature: Cal Swimmers Fare Well at U.S. Nationals

Aug. 13, 2007

By Vincent Tannura
Daily Californian

August 13, 2007

Berkeley, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- School may still be out for the summer, but several members of the Cal women's swimming team saved perhaps their most competitive event of the year for the summer.

Junior Dana Vollmer starred for the Bears at the U.S. nationals in Indianapolis July 31-August 4, recording top-five finishes in four individual events and anchoring Cal's fourth-place 4x100 meter relay team.

In addition, former Bears swimmer Jessica Hardy swam several solid races in her early preparation for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Vollmer began the five-day meet July 31 with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter butterfly, logging a time of 2:10.47. The next day the 2004 Olympic gold medalist added two more accolades to her resume with a third-place finish in the 100-meter free and her role in the fourth-place showing of the 4x100 meter relay team.

Fellow junior Lauren Rogers and former Bears swimmer Ashley Chandler joined Vollmer to fill out two legs of the relay.

Over the next two days, August 2 and 3, Vollmer posted times of 58.48 and 1:58.53 in the 100-meter fly and 200-meter free, respectively, good enough for second in each race.

'She just swam really well. She raced hard and finished well,' Hardy said. 'I think Dana is just a very talented person and athlete.'

Vollmer concluded her meet with a seventh-place finish in the 50-meter free with a time of 25.60.

Finishing one spot behind Vollmer in that event was Hardy, who swam just two years at the collegiate level before deciding to become a professional following the 2007 spring semester.

Hardy also competed in the 100 free and the 100-meter breaststroke, claiming 20th and sixth place, respectively.

'I'm not too happy with how I swam,' Hardy said. 'I put in a good effort and had a lot of fun, but I would have liked to place a little higher.'

Hardy, a two-time NCAA champion in the 100-yard breaststroke and the winner of a gold medal in the 50-meter breaststroke at April's FINA World Championships, will swim professionally over the next year in preparation for the 2008 Olympics before returning to Cal for her final two years.

She will be ineligible to swim for the Bears when she returns.

'I'm going to take a year off from school and swim the national and international scene,' Hardy said.

However, the former Cal standout still considers herself a Golden Bear at heart.

'I still felt the same connection as when I was on the team,' Hardy said. 'I still wanted (my former teammates) to win and do the best they could.'

(C) 2007 Daily Californian via CSTV U-WIRE

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