Granbury showers native Olympian

September 19, 2012

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A DAY WITH DANA: Dana Vollmer’s incredible journey chasing Olympic gold has taken her over the world and back a hero and role model for adoring fans. The Olympic swim champ from Granbury is pictured with husband Andy Grant in Saturday’s motorcade on Pearl Street during A Day With Dana. Clink on photo to see more photos from the event.


 

Rain altered the schedule for A Day With Dana, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm and excitement.

An estimated crowd of more than 1,000 attended a motorcade Saturday to honor Dana Vollmer, the four-time Olympic swim champion who grew up in Granbury.

About 700 followed her to the Granbury Resort Conference Center to hear her speak and receive several proclamations.

“It was a great event. Dana is a wonderful ambassador for Granbury – and the nation even,” Granbury Chamber of Commerce President Mike Scott said.

Vollmer and her husband, former Stanford All-American swimmer Andy Grant, were in the lead car of the motorcade. Ensuing cars included her parents, coaching dignitaries such as SEALS coach Janet Steenberge and Granbury Lady Pirate coach Leta Andrews, and friends.

Vollmer began her swim career with Steenberge and the SEALS. She still holds several Texas Amateur Athletic Federation state records she set with the SEALS.

A tearful Vollmer recognized both Steenberge and Fort Worth Area Swim Team coach Ron Forrest, who helped her reach her first Olympic Trials at age 12 in 2000 and her first Olympics four years later in Athens, Greece.

That was where Vollmer won her first gold medal as part of the 800-meter relay. But it was the recent London Olympics that made her a worldwide star as she won three gold medals and set two world records.

In her signature event, Vollmer won the gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly, clocking a world-record 55.98 seconds.

Granbury Mayor Pro Tem Mickey Parson served as master of ceremonies for the event inside the conference center. As he was praising Vollmer, he added that he wouldn’t be surprised if there were other heroes in waiting as part of the many youngsters in the crowd.

Scott was also impressed with the influence Vollmer, only 24 herself, has on youths.

“I was watching the kids. They were spellbound,” he said. “When you keep that many kids interested like that, you’ve got something special.”

Among the proclamations Vollmer received were from the governor’s office delivered by state Rep. Jim Keffer, state Sen. Brian Birdwell was represented by his wife Mel, and Congressman Bill Flores’ office was represented.

In his presentation, Keffer jokingly thanked Vollmer for the $25 million in free advertising for the state of Texas. He also presented her with an engraved crystal bowl as a gift.

Vollmer also received proclamations from Hood County, presented by Commissioner Steve Berry, along with Parsons presenting her with one from the city of Granbury.

“It was a great way to honor Dana, and it seemed as though everybody had a great time,” said Scott. “She’s just really down to earth and hasn’t let the thrill of it all go to her head.”

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