This week while we were watching athletes from around the world compete in the Summer Olympics in London, Gloria Standard, of Inchcliffe Drive in Ledyard, watched her granddaughter, Dana Vollmer, set a new world record and win two Olympic gold medals.
Vollmer won a gold medal on Sunday in the 100-meter butterfly with a world-record time. She won another gold medal Wednesday in the 4x200m freestyle relay, which set a new Olympic record.
Standard watched Vollmer race up and down the pool in London from her home overlooking Smith Pond in Gales Ferry.
“It’s wonderful, very exciting. I’m so happy for her,” she said of her youngest grandchild.
“We kind of expected it because she holds the world’s fastest time in that particular butterfly,” said the grandmother of six. “It wasn’t a big surprise.”
Standard moved to Ledyard with her husband in 1969 and raised her youngest daughter Cathy here. Cathy graduated from Ledyard High School and she worked for Ledyard Parks and Recreation in the summers.
Parks and Recreation Director Don Grise said he remembers the young Cathy Standard working for him in the summer playground program.
“She was a good kid, a real good kid,” he said.
Cathy Standard graduated from the University of Connecticut and became Ledyard’s first Director of Social Services, according to Grise. She met her husband at the Naval Submarine Base, according to Standard, and they moved to Texas quite a while ago. Standard said Cathy is now is a teacher.
Cathy developed a love for swimming as a child, which she evidently passed on to her children. Standard said her daughter swam at the sub base and at the YMCA as a girl and, after moving to Texas, taught her kids how to swim and coached them when they were young.
Cathy swam competitively as a young girl, but Standard said no one had Olympic dreams at the time.
Dana Vollmer’s Olympic swimming career began at an unusually young age. She went to the 2000 Olympic trials as a 12-year-old and was the youngest swimmer to attend the trials that year, according to her Olympic profile.
She didn’t make the team in 2000, but four years later she did, and she won a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens when her 800-meter freestyle relay team was victorious.
Vollmer’s success continued during her college career at the University of California-Berkeley, where she finished with four NCAA titles and a team championship. Last year she won two gold medals at the World Championships in the 100-meter butterfly and the 400-meter medley relay.
“She’s very determined," Standard said. "You have to be determined.”