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Best Olympic Female Athlete to Watch 

Dana Vollmer

Some experts think that very few world records will be broken in swimming at this year's Summer Olympics in London because athletes are no longer allowed to wear high-tech swimsuits. But Dana Vollmer, a UC Berkeley grad who still trains at Cal, may prove them wrong. Which is amazing, considering that Vollmer underwent heart surgery in 2003 to correct a rare disorder that caused her heart to beat 240 times per minute. For years, coaches kept a defibrillator at poolside while she raced. Then, after just missing the 2008 US Olympic team, Vollmer embarked on a relentless training regimen. And next week, when the Games begin, she'll be the gold-medal favorite in the 100-meter butterfly, and is expected to pick up two more golds in the 400-meter medley and 800-meter freestyle relays. The woman with the balky ticker also could become the first female swimmer to break a world record in the post-high-tech-suit era.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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