June 30, 2005
BERKELEY - Former Cal swimming star Natalie Coughlin is one of four women nominated in the Best Female Athlete category for the 13th annual ESPY Awards. Winners will be exclusively decided by fans, with voting running through July 8 at ESPN.com and ESPNDeportes.com.
In addition to Coughlin, a three-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year and winner of five medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Annika Sorenstam (golf), Maria Sharapova (tennis) and Seimone Augustus (basketball) have been nominated for Best Female Athlete.
The two-hour ESPY Awards show will be televised from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on ESPN Sunday, July 17 at 6 p.m. PT. The awards include 22 "Best in Sport" categories - which pit athletes from different sports against each other - as well as 12 individual sport categories and two special performance categories.
At last summer's Olympics, Coughlin won a gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke and a bronze in the 100-meter freestyle. She was also a member of three medal-winning relays - 800-meter free relay (gold), 400-meter free relay (silver) and 400-meter medley relay (silver). The five total medals tied a U.S. record for most medals won by a female in one Olympics.
During her illustrious Cal career, Coughlin won 11 individual NCAA titles, was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, broke six world records and snapped 35 American records. The 2002 World Swimmer of the Year, some of her other awards include first team Pac-10 All-Academic, 2003 Women's Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year, 2004 Sports Illustrated on Campus Female Athlete of the Year and the 2004 Pac-10 Medal.