July 24, 2001
FUKUOKA, JAPAN - Swimmers from Cal continue to be stellar at the World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan as Haley Cope, the 2000 Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year who just recently completed her eligibility for the Bears this past spring, won the gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke Tuesday.
Cope is the second Cal swimmer to win a gold medal at the World Championships as Anthony Ervin won the first gold medal for the United States Monday in the 50-meter freestyle. Cope swam a time of 28.51, topping Antje Buschschulte of Germany (28.53) and former Bear teammate Natalie Coughlin (28.54).
"I thought I was really dying," said Cope, who competed for the Bears from 1998-2001. "I was just trying to keep up with the girl next to me. I can't believe I'm the world champion."
Earlier, Cope had won the prelims of the 50 back with a then American record time of 28.60, only to have Coughlin, the 2001 Pac-10 and NCAA Swimmer of the Year, win the semifinals with a new American record time of 28.49. Coughlin was seeded first and Cope was seeded fifth heading into the finals of the 50 back.