Sept. 11, 2002
BERKELEY - Natalie Coughlin, a junior swimmer at the University of California, was named Swimmer of the Month for August by USA Swimming. This is the third Swimmer of the Month honor for her this year.
Coughlin had an amazing August, winning five events at the U.S. Summer National Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and added four gold medals and six total at the Pan Pacific Championships in Yokohama, Japan.
At the U.S. Nationals she set the world record in the 100-meter backstroke (59.58), becoming the first woman to swim the event in under one minute. Coughlin also set the American record in the 200m back (2:08.53) and became the first swimmer since Tracy Caulkins in 1978 to win five events at a National Championships.
In Japan, Coughlin set the American record in the 100-meter freestyle (53.99), becoming just the second woman to break 54 seconds in the event. Coughlin tied for first with Diana Munz for the most gold medals, and she and Ian Thorpe led the championships with the most overall medals. She won each of her four individual events and earned silver medals in two relays.
Coughlin, who earlier this year was a finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete, was also one of five nominees for an ESPY award as Best Female Collegiate Athlete. In her brief career, she has now set three world records, 27 American records, is a two-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year, has won six individual NCAA titles and was named the recipient of the 2001-02 Honda Sport Award Winner for swimming April 3.