U.S. Olympic swimmer Dana Vollmer was so focused on winning gold and breaking the world record in the 100-meter butterfly that she actually lost her cap in the pool. “I’m just so excited right now. I felt good during the first 50… actually lost a swim cap in the pool,” an ecstatic Vollmer told NBC. “It’s in there somewhere. It’s just so exciting about the whole thing.” Vollmer came in at 55.98, becoming the first woman ever to break the 56-second barrier.

When Vollmer touched the wall, there was no doubt that she had won gold, but as she turned to the scoreboard, she was just as eager to make the world record. "It takes me a little bit to able to see the clock, get my goggles unfogged," Vollmer told USA Today. "And it was just absolutely incredible to be there in front of that crowd with my parents and my husband in the stands. It was everything I could have dreamed it would have been.”

Vollmer revealed that her strength is her second 50, something she had discussed at length with coach Teri McKeever. “She’s got to be very careful not to over swim that first 25 meters,” said Rowdy Gaines, an NBC commentator and former U.S. Olympic swimmer, adding that “the stars are aligned for her to win gold right here.” Vollmer’s strategy of setting it up well and charging home in the second half proved accurate. "In semifinals, I tried to push that first 50, and it really hurt the second one," Vollmer said. "So just really rely on my strengths. And so I was really calm.”

Watch our exclusive interview with Dana Vollmer:

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