July 23, 2001
California's swimming standout, Anthony Ervin, continues to excel as he captured the first gold medal for the United States Monday at the World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Ervin, the 2000 Olympic gold medallist in the 50 free, won the 50-meter freestyle at the 2001 World Championships in a time of 22.09 over Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands (22.16).
"My time was good, but I've been faster," said Ervin. "I'm happy with the win. I have more pressure on me here (Fukuoka) than I did in Sydney. Here, people have been expecting me to win, but I never thought like that coming in to the meet."
In other action at the 2001 World Championships, former Cal swimmer Gordan Kozulj (1996-99) placed seventh for his native Croatia in the 100-meter back final with a time of 55.60.
Cal women swimmers are also excelling at the World Championships. In the 50-meter backstroke, Natalie Coughlin, the 2001 NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year as a freshman, placed first in the semifinals with an American record 28.49. Coughlin and former Bear teammate Haley Cope (1998-2001), who is seeded fifth for the finals, will be competing in the 50 back final on Tuesday. Cope had set the previous American record in the 50 back (28.60) Sunday by winning the prelims by .02 over Antje Buschschulte of Germany.