Dec. 16, 2010
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - California alumna Natalie Coughlin won the 100-meter backstroke gold medal in an American-record and course-record time of 56.08 on Thursday in the FINA Short Course World Championships. Swimming for the United States, Coughlin broke her previous American record of 56.51 and bested the previous course record of 56.58 at the Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex.
Under the watchful eye of U.S. and Golden Bears head coach Teri McKeever, Coughlin and former Cal star Dana Vollmer qualified for Friday's 100-meter freestyle final in Thursday's semifinal round. Coughlin finished third in a time of 52.51 and Vollmer was fourth in a time of 52.67 in the semis.
In the 100-free preliminary races earlier on Thursday, Coughlin posted an American-record time of 52.27 as the fastest swimmer in the heats. Likewise Vollmer clocked a fast 100 free with a time of 52.58 to finish third in the prelims. Both times surpassed Dara Torres' previous American record of 52.79.
Vollmer just missed out on reaching the eight-swimmer, 50-meter butterfly final; the 2009 NCAA Swimmer of the Year took ninth place in the semis with a time of 25.84. She had posted the seventh-fastest time (25.83) in the prelims.
In the Dec. 15 finals, Vollmer anchored the United States' 800-meter freestyle relay, which posted an American record of 7:38.42 with its fourth-place finish.
The meet, which began on Dec. 15, concludes on Sunday, Dec. 19.