July 2, 2008
Omaha, Neb. -
Former California Golden Bear Natalie Coughlin, who qualified for the Olympics on Tuesday in the 100-meter backstroke, now can add the 200 Individual Medley to her 2008 Olympic resume after placing second in that event on Wednesday night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Time Trials at the Qwest Center with a time of 2:10.32. Katie Hoff automatically qualified with a first-place time and American Record, 2:09.71.
According to USA Swimming, only the top four swimmers in the men's and women's 100m and 200m free, along with the winners of all the other events, automatically qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team. The second-place finishers in all the other events (Coughlin in the 200 IM), plus the fifth and sixth-place finishers in the men's and women's 100m and 200m free, may be named to the team later in the week, pending swimmers qualifying in multiple events.
At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Coughlin became the third American woman to win five medals at one Olympics (the others are Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller). She took gold in the 100-meter backstroke and the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, breaking the world record in that event. Coughlin also won silver medals in the 4x100-meter free relay and the 4x100-meter medley relay, and a bronze in the 100-meter free. Coughlin is no stranger to dominance in her sport. She has held the world record in the 100m back for six years, becoming the first woman to swim the event in less than one minute in 2002. She lowered her record at the 2007 World Championships, winning gold in the 100m back with a time of 59.44.
Coughlin attended Berkeley from 2001-04, and was the NCAA Swimmer of the Year in 2001, 2002 and 2003 under the tutelage of head coach Teri McKeever. A 2004 graduate with a psychology degree, Coughlin still continues to train at Cal.
Other notables from Wednesday included current Cal women's swimmer Dana Vollmer placing seventh in the finals of the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:58.67.
USA Network will carry tonight's action at 8:00 p.m. (PT). Please check your local listings for channel lineup. Additionally, fans can follow all the action via the web at NBCOlympics.com and USASwimming.org.