Gold-Medal Swimmer Dana Vollmer’s Post-Olympics Plan: ‘I’m Hugging My Son’


There’s no doubt that becoming a parent changes everything. And for women who give birth, body transformations can be among the most visible of transformations. It’s what created so much hype around four-time Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer’s return to the pool — just 17 months after having her first child, son Arlen. Luckily, the 28-year-old swimmer knows a thing or two about major comebacks.

After her Olympic debut in Athens in 2004, where she won gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Vollmer didn’t qualify to compete in Beijing, which forced her to take eight years to make it back to the world’s biggest sports stage in London. Vollmer accepted the daunting task to step up rather than down, and her perseverance paid off: She nabbed three golds, in 100-meter butterfly and two relays, at the 2012 Summer Games. Having beaten the odds then, Vollmer was able to face the challenge of bouncing back postbaby with the same focus and determination, which again proved rewarding in Rio, where she earned three more medals — one in every color.

Ignoring her critics who seemed to see becoming a mom as a disadvantage, Vollmer — and science — say otherwise: A 2014 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that mothers are actually the most productive members of the workforce. And for the seven-time Olympic medalist, making the podium every time was all in a day’s work.

Yahoo Beauty caught up with Vollmer — the self-dubbed “Momma on a Mission,” who’s formed a recent partnership with Pampers — at the P&G Family Home in Rio to learn more about her winning Olympic strategy, thoughts on Rio, and having a baby so close to game time.

Yahoo Beauty: What was your mental strategy going into the Rio Olympics?

Dana Vollmer: Just taking it day by day. Training and getting back in shape seemed like a really lofty goal after becoming a mom, but now I’m here and I just take each swim one at a time and stay focused and calm. I always say what defines an Olympic athlete is what you do during the lows, not during the highs.

How did your training plan change going into these Games, compared with previous Olympics?

On a typical day, my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. and I leave my house at 5 a.m. I will do two hours in the pool every morning and then either two hours of weights or one hour of Pilates. Before I had Arlen, I would work out six hours total every day, so when I went back to training for this Olympics, I couldn’t exactly cut that time in half, but realized that you do a lot of running around as a mom, so that makes up for it.

Any funny stories from hanging out with other athletes in the Olympic Village?

We have a tradition where the men’s basketball team will come to watch one of our finals, and I got to sit next to Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson from the Golden State Warriors. Being from the Bay Area, I was so excited to meet them and get a picture!

What are your plans to celebrate post-Olympics?

I’m hugging my son, Arlen, and probably not letting him go for a while. People keep asking me if I’m going to go on vacation, but after traveling for 31 days, all I want to do is be at home and hang out with my family. Other than that, I would also love to have a spa day: a body scrub, a facial …the whole thing.

How did your pregnancy affect your expectations following your London performance?

Coming into this Olympics, I didn’t think it could top how London felt, but with my new outlook on life and swimming, this Olympics has meant so much to me. I feel so empowered by my own journey, my husband, my family, and everyone who supported me through this one.

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