Five-time Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer isn’t letting pregnancy get in the way of her training. On Friday, the 29-year-old swimmer competed while six months pregnant.
“Time didn’t matter, place didn’t matter,” said Vollmer (via the Associated Press) after finishing the 50-meter freestyle in 27.59 seconds, more than two seconds slower than she swam in at the same Pro Swim Series event in Mesa, Ariz., last year.
Vollmer, who is part of the world-record holding women’s 4×100 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 fewer breaths during the race.) “A 50 felt long for the first time in my life.”
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.
“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 Thursday.
Vollmer, who competed in Rio 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 teammates, all the people from Rio. The race felt great.”
Vollmer also used the race to reveal the gender of her child by wearing a green-hued swimsuit opposed to a pink one.
Vollmer, who had to size up her swimsuit, is expecting another boy in July.
With two kids to care for, however, Vollmer doesn’t expect to slow down as Tokyo 2020 approaches. She said she’s turned to three-time Olympic gold-medal-winning volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings for advice.
“She’s been a great resource,” Vollmer said. “She’s done this with 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.”