April 7, 2008
Berkeley - A pair of former and current California Golden Bear women swimmers shined brightly at the Stanford Grand Prix held April 4-6 at the Avery Aquatic Center. Olympian Natalie Coughlin captured her second gold medal of the meet on the final day of competition (Sunday) in the 100-meter backstroke at 59.44, while junior and Olympian Dana Vollmer collected her first gold medal of the meet when she touched the wall in pool record time of 58.59 in the 100m butterfly also on Sunday.
Coughlin collected her first gold medal of the Stanford Grand Prix on Saturday night in the 200-meter IM. Although the event is not a regular on the Olympian's schedule, Coughlin shaved four seconds off her time to come within eight-tenths of the American record.
"It was very, very strange," Coughlin said on Saturday. "I don't normally swim that race. I swam this race three years ago at this meet. I really don't like this event. It was fun swimming in it today, but I am not going to be swimming it again soon."
Coughlin also set a pool record and came within a half second of her own American record in the 100-meter freestyle on the first day of competition on Friday. U.S. Open record-holder Amanda Weir (Lawrenceville, Ga.) set the first pool record of the evening in the 100m freestyle only to have American record-holder Coughlin erase the record in the consolation final. Weir won the event in 55.33. Coughlin, who failed to qualify for the final heat in the preliminary session, remained in ninth place with a time of 53.94.
"I figured some things out between this morning and tonight," Coughlin said on Friday. "Nothing happened this morning, I just wasn't prepared. I was semi-pleased with my swim tonight. I have never been under 54.00 at a non-championship meet, but I still think I should be faster."
A total of 15 pool records were established in the three-day event.
Lauren Rogers - another Cal Bear - and Leona Jennings (Des Moines, Wash.) took second and third with times of 1:02.74 and 1:03.14, respectively in Sunday's 100-meter backstroke.