April 4, 2003
For the third consecutive year, University of California junior Natalie Coughlin won the 2002-03 Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year award. The honor was announced today by the Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen. Coughlin is the Golden Bears' first women's swimmer to win the award three times.
Coughlin continues to add to her impressive collection of honors, as earlier this week, she received the 2002-03 Honda Award for Swimming and Diving. Coughlin had her finest season yet in 2002-03, and recently earned her third straight NCAA Swimmer of the Year award. Two weeks ago, 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). Other honors she earned this past year include the 2002 Swimmer of the Year by USA Swimming and 2002 Female World Swimmer of the Year by Swimmer's World magazine.
Cal can now boast the past five winners of the Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year award. Coughlin has won the award the past three years, while Haley Cope was the 2000 recipient and Marylyn Chiang was named Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year in 1999.