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Dana Vollmer’s plan for second child may include racing while pregnant

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Dana Vollmer pulled off the remarkable in Rio, earning a medal of every color, 17 months after childbirth. The butterfly swimmer wants to have another baby and return to competition again, and she’s preparing differently this time.

Vollmer has talked with her swimsuit maker, Tyr, about designing a suit for whatever size belly she has if and when she is pregnant. The goal is sooner rather than later.

“I didn’t swim at all with [baby boy] Arlen, so I’m hoping to be able to train through more of the pregnancy, hopefully,” Vollmer said last month. “Last time I was on bedrest. Really hoping that doesn’t happen.”

The seven-time Olympic medalist could even see a scenario where she competes in the early stages of pregnancy. Perhaps in 2017.

In the last Olympic cycle, Vollmer competed in the season after the London Olympics. Then she took 23 months off from competition before returning 13 months before the Rio Games.

“This time, if we get pregnant soon, then I’ll have more time than I had leading up to Rio,” Vollmer said. “I do feel like that I kind of ran out of time. I could have been faster in Rio. It’s part of what motivates me to continue swimming right now. I still feel like I have a faster swim in me.”

Vollmer was plenty fast in 2016, regaining her form as the fastest American in the 100m butterfly and posting the top 100m freestyle time in the country for the year going into the Olympic Trials.

In Rio, she took bronze in the 100m butterfly, silver as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay and gold with the 4x100m medley relay.

The 100m fly is her signature event.

At the 2012 Olympics, Vollmer broke Sarah Sjöström‘s world record in the 100m fly final and won gold.

In Rio, Sjöström broke the world record in the 100m butterfly and won gold. Vollmer, beaten by a gaping 1.15 seconds, then joked to her Swedish rival.

“Next is my turn,” Vollmer said, hinting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Vollmer laughed about that comment in an interview last month.

“I would have liked to be a little closer to her to give her a little more of a scare for the gold medal,” she said. “For her to go as fast as she did [a half-second better than Vollmer’s personal best] was insane.”

Vollmer will be 32 come 2020, which is older than any previous U.S. Olympic female swimmer save Dara Torres, who raced at Sydney 2000 at age 33 and Beijing 2008 at 41.

Vollmer has been touched by words from other moms at playdates in the park this fall. They say she inspired them to believe they can achieve a life balance of being a mom while also pursuing their own self-interests, particiularly in physical fitness.

It could be just the start, especially if a pregnant Vollmer suits up for meets in the next year or so.

“I don’t know what my ‘fly would look like, and I don’t know how slow it might be,” she said. “It would be more about getting in and having fun racing a 100 fly.”

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Kerri Walsh Jennings pleased by result after longest break in 5 years

Kerri Walsh Jennings
FIVB World Tour
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Kerri Walsh Jennings returned from her longest competition break since 2013 and, with partner Nicole Branagh, nearly beat the world’s top-ranked team.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh ultimately were eliminated in the round of 16 at the Xiamen Open in China.

“We WILL do better,” was posted on Walsh Jennings’ social media. “We actually had a great showing and learned and battled and improved – sometimes the stats don’t show everything.”

Walsh Jennings and Branagh, a pair of 39-year-old moms, played together for the first time since July 22, when Walsh Jennings’ five-times surgically repaired right shoulder popped out mid-match.

Walsh Jennings, eyeing her sixth and final Olympics in 2020, underwent a sixth shoulder surgery and an ankle surgery and did not return to training on the beach until March (her longest break between hitting a ball on sand since switching from indoor following the 2000 Olympics).

The duo won their opening Xiamen match in three sets last week, then lost a three-setter to the world’s No. 1 team in group play. Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes prevailed 21-15, 22-24, 18-16 en route to the tournament title.

After Walsh Jennings and Branagh swept American qualifiers Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman in the first elimination round, they squandered a one-set lead in the round of 16. Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy eliminated them 19-21, 21-16, 20-18.

Walsh Jennings said before flying to Xiamen that she and Branagh would next play on the FIVB World Tour at the Itapema Open in Brazil in mid-May. In four FIVB World Tour events since partnering last year, they were eliminated in qualifying once, bounced in the round of 16 twice and forfeited a bronze-medal match due to that shoulder dislocation.

Early season partner changes defined the U.S. women’s landscape. In Xiamen, one of those new teams, Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar, reached the final, losing to the Canadians.

It marked the first final four appearance on the senior FIVB World Tour for the 22-year-old Claes, an NCAA champion at USC with former partner Sara Hughes, and for the 36-year-old Hochevar, the older sister of former Kansas City Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar.

MORE: Walsh Jennings documents comeback from surgeries

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Watch Dateline special on McKayla Maroney, Larry Nassar; full episode

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McKayla MaroneyAly Raisman and Martha and Bela Karolyi spoke about their experiences with Larry Nassar in “Silent No More,” an NBC News’ DATELINE special that aired Sunday night.

It marked Maroney’s first interview since she went public as one of the hundreds of survivors who said they were sexually abused by Nassar, a team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for two decades.

The Karolyis, both former U.S. women’s national team coordinators, spoke on camera for the first time regarding Nassar, too. Olympians said they were abused at the Karolyis’ ranch in Texas at national team training camps.

Maroney said that at 2011 Worlds in Tokyo she told John Geddert, the personal coach of teammate Jordyn Wieber and head coach for the U.S. team at the event, that Nassar abused her.

NBC News reported that three other people in the car at the time remembered Maroney’s account from seven years ago. Geddert did not respond to requests for comment.

Geddert was suspended by USA Gymnastics in January and is facing a criminal investigation after Nassar, who molested girls at Geddert’s gym in Michigan, was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison on Jan. 24. Geddert said he had “zero knowledge” of Nassar’s crimes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MORE: Karolyis deny knowledge of Nassar crimes | Maroney’s first speech on Nassar