Jan. 21, 2011
BERKELEY - California head coach Teri McKeever, sophomore Caitlin Leverenz and alumnae Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer claimed spots on the U.S. roster for the 2011 FINA World Championships this summer in China, USA Swimming announced Thursday. McKeever, the head coach for the 2012 U.S. women's Olympic squad, will serve as the assistant coach for the U.S. women at the World Championships, which runs from July 24-31 in Shanghai, China.
The three swimmers last competed together at the Pan Pacific Championships last August, with McKeever at the helm as U.S. head coach. As part of the U.S. 4x100-meter medley relay, Coughlin and Vollmer claimed the gold medal at the international meet in Irvine, Calif. The USA Swimming Foundation honored that victorious quartet with the relay award at the Golden Goggles in November. Overall, Cal swimmers collected 11 medals at Pan Pacs - seven gold (4 for Vollmer, including the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, and 3 for Coughlin, including the 100-meter freestyle), one silver (Vollmer in the 100 free) and three bronze (Leverenz in the 200 and 400 individual medleys and Coughlin in the 100 backstroke).
Leverenz, the 2010 Pac-10 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, also captured the gold medal in the 400-meter IM at the U.S. National Championships last summer. She made a big impact on the Cal program in less than two seasons. She set the school record in the 400-yard individual medley during her freshman season, when Leverenz also earned All-America honors in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley and was an honorable mention All-American in the 400 IM. She recently broke her 400-IM school record with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 4:05.04 at the U.S. Short Course Championships in December. That time currently ranks third-fastest in the nation, while her NCAA A time of 2:06.55 in the 200-yard breaststroke is the fastest time in the country.
Coughlin, the 11-time Olympic medalist, is Cal's most decorated swimmer of all time. She became the first U.S. women's athlete to win six medals at a modern Olympiad in 2008, when she also became the first women's swimmer to win her second straight gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke. Her 11 medals rank third most in Olympic women's swimming history, behind former U.S. teammates Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson, who have 12 each. At Cal, she won 12 NCAA titles - the second-most career titles for a women's swimmer in NCAA history - and she went undefeated in dual meets over four years. She holds numerous world, American and Cal records.
Vollmer won a gold medal as a member, along with Coughlin, of the winning and record-setting U.S. 4x200-meter freestyle relay at the 2004 Olympics. At Cal, she claimed several awards in 2009, her final college season: NCAA Swimmer of the Year, Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year and Honda Sports Award winner for Swimming. Also in 2009, Vollmer led the Golden Bears to their first NCAA and first Pac-10 team titles in program history.
McKeever, Leverenz and the current Bears take on Arizona State on Friday at noon PST in Tempe, Ariz. They follow that Pac-10 Conference dual meet with another against Arizona at noon on Sunday, Jan. 23, in Leverenz's hometown of Tucson, Ariz.