Kolkata: Seven-time Olympic medallist Dana Vollmer lined up on the starting block at a USA Swimming meet held in Arizona on Thursday despite being 26 weeks pregnant.
The Olympian isn’t taking it easy while awaiting the birth of her second child. The swimmer is competing with what she likens to as having a ‘bowling ball’ in her stomach. Vollmer finished 55th in the 50-metre freestyle event, finishing with a time of 27.59 seconds.
Vollmer chose the 50 metre freestyle event as her only race of the meet because she didn’t have to make a flip turn.
”Time didn’t matter, place didn’t matter,” Vollmer said. ”I’ve loved being here. I’ve loved seeing all my teammates, all the people from Rio. The race felt great.” she was quoted as saying by BBC.
Vollmer said that she raced with prior permission from her doctor, and has amended her training programme while pregnant by doing more strength training.
“Putting the health of the baby first doesn’t mean just sitting on the couch,” Vollmer said. “It’s better for the baby, and it’s better for me to stay active, to stay strong going into labour.”
Vollmer said her plan is definitely oriented in a way to train toward the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. She has been judicious in her training while pregnant, avoiding underwater drills that necessitate long breath-holding and would decrease oxygen to the baby.
Last year she competed for the U.S. Olympic team 15 months after giving birth to her oldest child, Arlen, but this around is a different challenge for her altogether as he will keep working out in an effort to stay in better shape than the last time she had a baby, and has a goal of returning to full-scale competition post-delivery by summer nationals in 2018.
She isn’t the first Olympian to compete this deep into pregnancy. Most notably, 800-metre runner Alysia Montano raced 34 weeks into her pregnancy at the 2014 US Championships.
(With inputs from BBC)