June 23, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - University of California junior swimming star Natalie Coughlin is one of the featured swimmers at this week's 36th Santa Clara International Invitational. The invitational, hosted by the Santa Clara Swim Club, is held Thursday-Sunday, June 26-29, at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara, Calif.
The invitational is part of the USA Swimming Grand Prix series and serves as a final tune-up meet before the 2003 FINA World Aquatics Championships, which begin July 21-27 in Barcelona, Spain. Coughlin, a U.S. National Team member, will also compete at that elite meet.
In addition to Coughlin, the invitational features several other prominent swimmers including Olympic gold medallists and former Golden Bear Anthony Ervin and Tom Malchow, world record holders Michael Phelps (butterfly/individual medley), Lindsey Benko (freestyle) and Aaron Piersol (backstroke) and other world team members including former Cal standout Haley Cope.
Tickets for the meet can be purchased at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara beginning Tuesday, June 24. All session passes are $20 with daily prelim tickets selling for $3 and daily final tickets selling for $7. On Saturday, June 28, the USA National Synchronize Swim Team will give a 10-minute performance prior to the start of competition.
Coughlin is coming off her most impressive season yet as a Golden Bear, earning her third straight NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year awards. At the 2003 NCAA Championships in March, she became the NCAA's first three-time titilist in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 and 200 backstroke. She owns the American and NCAA record in each of those events. At the Pac-10 Championships in Federal Way, Wash. Feb. 27-Mar. 1, Coughlin won three individual events, breaking her own American, NCAA and Cal school record in the 100 free with a time of 47.42.
In all, Coughlin set three world, seven American and three NCAA records during the 2002-03 season. In three seasons at Cal, Coughlin has nine national titles and a perfect Pac-10 dual meet race record (43-0). Additional honors she earned last season include the 2002 Swimmer of the Year by USA Swimming and 2002 Female World Swimmer of the Year by Swimmer's World magazine.
Live results of this weekend's meet can be found at this link: http://www.santaclaraswimclub.org/Meets/2003International/Results/index.htm with recaps available at www.calbears.com.