July 30, 2008
Berkeley - Two-time Olympian, world record holder and Cal swimming legend Natalie Coughlin, along with Dara Torres and Amanda Beard were selected as the women's team captains for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swim Team announced on Wednesday.
On the men's side, three-time Olympians Erik Vendt and Jason Lezak, and two-time Olympian and world record-holder Brendan Hansen were selected as captains. Team captains were selected by a team vote at the team's domestic training camp held in Palo Alto, Calif., last week.
Arguably the greatest female swimmer in Cal history, Coughlin won 12 NCAA titles with the Golden Bears (the second-most career titles for a women's swimmer in NCAA history). She was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year. Her success only grew more after her collegiate tenure. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Coughlin became the third American woman to win five medals at one Olympics (the others are Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller). She took gold in the 100-meter backstroke and the 800 freestyle relay, breaking the world record in that event. Coughlin also won silver medals in the 400 free relay and the 400 medley relay, and a bronze in the 100 free. At the 2008 Olympic Trials, Coughlin lowered her world record in the 100 back to 58.97. In addition, she finished second in both the 100 free (53.83) and 200 individual medley races (2:10.32).
In addition to the announcement of the team captains, the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swim Team will hold two separate media opportunities prior to the start of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Before departing for China, members of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team will be available in Singapore on Saturday, August 2. Upon the team's arrival in Beijing, the team will hold its official Olympic press conference at the Main Press Center on Wednesday, August 6.
The team's media availability in Singapore on Saturday, August 2 will consist of an open practice in the morning at the Singapore Island Country Club, followed by a press conference featuring Team USA athletes Torres, Coughlin, Brendan Hansen, Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff and Eric Shanteau, as well as USA Swimming's National Team head coach and general manager Mark Schubert.
The U.S. Olympic Swim Team's official press conference in Beijing will take place on Wednesday, August 6 at the Main Press Center for the Beijing Olympics. The press conference will begin at 12:30 p.m. local time and will feature Torres, Phelps, Coughlin, Hoff, Hansen, Shanteau, and Schubert. Transcripts from both press conferences will be available online at www.usaswimming.org/media.
The Olympic pool competition begins Aug. 9 and runs through Aug. 17 at the Beijing National Aquatic Center. Then, on Aug. 20 and 21, the women's and men's 10K Olympic marathon swim will make its Olympic debut at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in Beijing, China.