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Swimming: A 'bowling ball' baby bump but Vollmer swims on

Dana Vollmer, six months pregnant, in a green and black swimsuit at the Pro Swim Series in Mesa, Arizona to reveal that her second child due in July will be another boy.
Dana Vollmer, six months pregnant, in a green and black swimsuit at the Pro Swim Series in Mesa, Arizona to reveal that her second child due in July will be another boy.PHOTO: TWITTER/ DANAVOLLMER

WASHINGTON • Five-time Olympic gold medallist Dana Vollmer is not letting pregnancy get in the way of her training.

On Friday, the 29-year-old American swimmer competed while six months pregnant.

"Time didn't matter, place didn't matter," she told the Associated Press after finishing the 50m freestyle in 27.59sec, more than two seconds slower than what she timed in the same Pro Swim Series event in Mesa, Arizona, last year.

Vollmer, who is part of the world-record holding women's 4x100m medley relay team, ended up placing 55th overall, which is not bad considering she was weighed down by a "bowling ball" as she described her healthy baby bump.

"I don't think I've ever done a 50 where I took four or five breaths," she said. (Elite swimmers generally take one or no breaths during the race.) "A 50 felt long for the first time in my life."

Dana Vollmer, six months pregnant, in a green and black swimsuit at the Pro Swim Series in Mesa, Arizona to reveal that her second child due in July will be another boy.
Dana Vollmer, six months pregnant, in a green and black swimsuit at the Pro Swim Series in Mesa, Arizona to reveal that her second child due in July will be another boy. PHOTO: TWITTER/ DANAVOLLMER

Before Vollmer got in the pool, she checked with her doctors to make sure it was okay. Her goal this pregnancy was to avoid forced bed rest, which she said affected her last pregnancy when she had to stay off her feet for 30 weeks.

MY LONGEST LAP

I don't think I've ever done a 50 where I took four or five breaths. A 50 felt long for the first time in my life.

DANA VOLLMER, a five-time Olympic champion, on her 27.59sec 50m free swim, which was more than 2sec slower than her time in the same event last year.

"I talked to a lot of other moms who compared working out to not working out and whether or not they ended up on bed rest and decided I needed to be healthier with the activity I do," she told ESPNW ahead of the race on Thursday.

Vollmer, who claimed her seventh Olympic medal in Rio last year just 15 months after giving birth to her first son Arlen, said competition is also enjoyable.

"I've loved being here," she told the AP after the event. "I've loved seeing all my team-mates, all the people from Rio. The race felt great."

She also used the race to reveal the gender of her child by wearing a green-hued swimsuit, as opposed to a pink one.

Vollmer, who had to size up her swimsuit from the 26 she wore in Rio to a 32, is expecting another boy in July with husband Andy Grant.

Even with two kids to care for, she does not expect to slow down with a little more than 1,000 days to go until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begin.

She said she has turned to three-time Olympic gold-medal- winning beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, 38, for advice.

"She's been a great resource," Vollmer said. "She's done this with three kids, and here I am nervous about two. But I've talked to her about how to manage the schedule and train and still come home and nurse.

"It's been amazing to have a role model like her. I'm real excited to see where I'm going to be at heading into Tokyo."

Vollmer is not the first woman to race while heavily pregnant, noted the BBC.

In June 2014, Alysia Montano competed in the 800m quarter-finals of the US track and field championships while eight months pregnant.

Plenty of women have also taken part in the Olympics while pregnant, though none did in Rio due to concerns over the effect of the Zika virus on unborn children.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2017, with the headline 'A 'bowling ball' baby bump but Vollmer swims on'. Print Edition | Subscribe