Natalie Coughlin – Sometimes You Need That Extra Kick – Video Interview

  30 Mitch Bowmile | August 11th, 2014 | Featured, National, News, Video

pinit fg en rect gray 28 Natalie Coughlin Sometimes You Need That Extra Kick Video Interview

Natalie Coughlin will be absent from a national team in what seems like forever after failing to qualify in both the 50 and 100m freestyle finals.

In the 100 freestyle she finished seventh in 54.52 missing a spot on the team by just 0.14 seconds as Abbey Weitzeil grabbed the last remaining spot with a fourth place finish in 54.38.

In the 50 freestyle, Coughlin was sixth in finals with a time of 24.97 matching her entry time exactly and bettering her prelim swim of 25.07 by one tenth of a second. The time that would’ve made the team in that race was a 24.81 by Madeline Locus, again a time that Coughlin was not far off of.

Coughlin praised her teammates and the young up-and-comers for their continued excellence this week and stated that sometimes you need that extra kick in order to swim faster.

Comments

  1. suny cal. says:
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    I think it is time for her to move on with her life and retire. She has been a great ambassador for the sport, but its time.

  2. SUNY cal says:
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    I think its time to retire and move on with your life.

  3. CalBearFan says:
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    She’s labeled Queen Natalie for a reason- what poise she shows in the midst of disappointment. Maybe this could be the impetus to keep going and dip her toe back into the backstrokes (50/100). Whatever happens, the Bears and USA fans are proud to call her one of our own.

    • KP says:
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      backstrokes- yikes!!! We have great backstrokers coming out of our ears. Tough group to crack. Where we NEED her is FLY. She is a great butterflyer. Check your American short course records. I do hope she keeps swimming. She is a class act. Remember folks, in 2016 she will only be a little older than Jason Lezak was when he saved the day!

  4. liquidassets says:
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    Coaches should show this to younger swimmers as a glimpse inside the mind of a true champion: Focusing on the positive and enjoying the training process with teammates regardless of the outcome, while relishing their accomplishments almost as her own, feeling confident about her preparation at the race, so that she genuinely feels a sense of satisfaction, but crucially being also open to looking, in hindsight, about what might have gone wrong. Also focusing on what she could and could not control. These nuances are remarkable when I reflect back on her struggles as a teenager that almost led to her premature retirement 15 years ago!! Whether it was coaches, psychologists, loved ones, or just Natalie herself digging deep for her own resources, her mental transformation has been dramatic and complete, and why we all continue to love and admire her, and be so inspired by her. She gives us all hope.

    The best news, also emblematic of champion-level thinking, was in your headline: “Sometimes you need that extra kick”– she’s not done yet, folks!! Others had expressed concern she would retire if she didn’t make Pan Pacs/Worlds. But she knows she can’t be that different than the swimmer who split a 52.9 on the relay only a year earlier. Whether it’s changing up her strength routine to close the gap between her and the girls who are getting bigger and bigger at a younger age, increasing her stroke tempo to match theirs, adding back some stroke events, at least 50s, cutting back on outside commitments, or multiple other changes that she and her coaches have already thought of, I’m confident that she is ready to enjoy the challenge, regardless of outcome, of digging deeper to see what else she’s got left!

    • Mills says:
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      No shame in retiring. Americans hang on for way too long as it is. Natalie has had a great career and can move on as one of the most decorated swimmers in US history. I’ve never understood the desire to keep pursuing “the dream” after she’s done it time and time again (same w Phelps).

      • liquidassets says:
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        I’m guessing it’s because as fans we have different dreams than they do, and their dreams are even different than those earlier in their careers.

      • liquidassets says:
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        Also, it looks like she just downright enjoys it. How many folks, especially women, can get paid to train every day with the likes of Ervin, her bff Adrian, Stubblefield and her women sprinter friends? If I were her I’d milk it until it just wasn’t physically or financially viable.

  5. JW says:
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    She’s such an inspiration to so many swimmers. You do you, Natalie!

  6. swimfan says:
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    As long as Natalie can contribute and provide value to the sport, the US National team and her Cal teammates, I hope she continues. She will know when it’s time to leave the sport but I still think she provides an impact in swimming and whatever decision she makes, I respect.
    Besides 2009, this is the first time in almost 15 years that Natalie won’t be on a national team…think about it for a minute….that alone, deserves respect and she’s earned the right to do whatever she wants. Champions come and go every year but legends maintain a consistency of excellence over a lengthy period of time. Best of luck Nat in your decision making process.

  7. easyspeed says:
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    Best female swimmer of all time and a class act. It’s a mystery tho, to someone like me as a fan, why she would fall off the last couple years. Physically she should still be young enough to be in the medal mix. I don’t understand it at all and hope she is able to turn it around. And why retire from the 100 back? That never made any sense either.

    • liquidassets says:
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      Yeah I think she felt too much pressure in the 100 back but I’d like to see her add back some combo of 50/100 back and fly, agree with Easyspeed about the 100 fly being a weak US event too right now. As for one possible explanation, I’m not sure if you saw my assessment that she looked a lot smaller next to the bigger younger girls, and that despite her smaller size they also kept up a better tempo than she did. Would you agree with that?

      • liquidassets says:
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        Sorry I meant I agreed with Michael Scott Schwartz about the 100 fly. I believe Natalie felt stale and she always said the 100 free was her favorite event (except SCM 100 IM) so she focused on sprint frees for a needed change of scenery. But they have gotten more competitive and the sprint flys/backs a bit less so during that period so hope she would consider shifting back.

      • easyspeed says:
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        I heard Natalie was not very dedicated to training leading up to London. I have no idea what is going on now and wondered if someone knew.. maybe we, the public, will never know. Agree she should do some non-freestyle events tho like back and fly……..

        Also, it’s strange to me that the swimming community seems to have the idea that 30 and up is over the hill. It isn’t. You would think evidence provided by Lezak and Torres would have proven otherwise, but guess not for many people. If you look at athletes in other sports.. even endurance sports like triathlons and marathon runners often time don’t reach their peak until their mid 30s. You have an advantage of more strength (muscle mass) at an older age, not to mention experience.. tho there is some disadvantages of longer recovery time and having difficulty staying motivated from a psychological standpoint. Over 45 is a different story, but certainly under 35 you can still perform at a high level.

        • easyspeed says:
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          Where did this idea of late 20s and up is old come from? My theory is that, in American swimming anyway, it used to be that anything beyond the college age made you over the hill. That was the situation until about the mid 90s (Dolan was one of the first to famously turn down the end of his college career for $). Prior to that, you were just hopeful that the Olympics rolled around while you were at a good point in your college career. After that forget about it. Not to mention, there was no money in the sport so no motivation to keep going. Now things have changed, thanks to Phelps and others, and one can be a “pro” swimmer. And so it’s a little more acceptable to think you can keep going into your 20s and even do better at that age. In fact, college swimmers look kind of funny now because they are so skinny in comparison. But the idea that you have to be 18 to 21 to be good at swimming still lingers around it seems, because of the history of the sport…

        • PB says:
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          Interesting…I heard she was overtrained leading up to London. Rumors…

          • mikeh says:
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            I recall in an interview after London, she suggested she had over trained, ignored the warning signs, and gone to the trials at less than her best. It happens, particularly with very devoted, single-minded athletes.

    • aswimfan says:
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      Let’s face it, 50/100 free were (and still are, although improving) weak events for USA between 2009-2013.
      While 50/100 back saw the rise of Franklin and Pelton and Boostma in 2010.
      USA had very very strong 100 fly in Vollmer and Magnusson.
      It may be that combinations of these things that influenced Coughlin’s decision to focus on the free sprints when she came back from her sabbatical leave.

  8. whoknows says:
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    Let’s see… how old was Dara Torres the last time she competed?

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    I think Natalie needs should focus on the 100 fly to be honest. That area is really weak in the US right now and somewhere I think she can make an impact.

    • RL says:
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      YES!!! FLY!!! She still has the American record in the 100 yard fly. It is 13 years old and survived the rubber suit era! That is greatness. As someone pointed out, she split 52.9 100M free only one year ago. US is still weak in the 100 fly. Natalie is also so CLUTCH on relays. For someone to say on her behalf that it is time for her to “move on with her life” is ridiculous, unless she wants to. She is a professional swimmer! Did any of you watch the Tour de France? (Bobo probably did!) They average over 100 miles a day, often up mountains, for 3 weeks. There were two 42 year old guys in that race this year. Don’t try to tell me a young, healthy, talented swimmer is too old to hack 100 meters! Remember how old Jason Lezak was when he saved the day? We might need Natalie to save the day doing fly on the medley relay in 2016. Before nationals, I added up the top times of the women from the rankings on Swimswam, and the back half of our relay was in serious trouble compared to Australia and Sweden. Swim on Natalie, as long as you have passion for it!

  10. Sven says:
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    It’s easy to keep improving as a youngblood, when your body is getting stronger and faster on its own. It’s a whole different game when you’re on the downward side of the hill, trying to find ways to get faster/maintain when your body wants to get weaker and slower. I’m sure she understands which side she’s on, but I think she’s learned to enjoy the fight. As long as she can qualify and enjoy herself, she should keep swimming. No amount of missed teams can take away from what she’s done.

  11. aswimfan says:
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    Actually, this is not the first time Coughlin is absent from the national team in like “forever”.

    She took 18 months sabbatical leave in 2008-2009, missing the 2009 national team.

    And in fact, Coughlin’s leave was longer than Phelps’ “retirement”

  12. Calfan says:
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    Correct -2009 WC Champs in Rome right after Beiijing Games she did not compete and did not qualify for US National team.
    I think ppl we’re alluding to the shock of her actually competing in a National qualifying meet and actually not qualifying for a team….that is what seemed like ‘forever’.
    Whatever her decision is, Natalie’s legacy in short course yards and the 12 Olympic, 20 World Championship and 16 US National Championship individual gold medals medals solidify her reputation as one of the most accomplished female swimmers in our sport.

  13. Danjohnrob says:
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    I would LOVE to see Natalie become a technical expert to work with Team USA athletes and help them improve their starts, turns and underwaters! Who could do that job better?! When the swimmers are together during a training camp like this would be the perfect time!

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About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile is a former Canadian age group swimmer who was forced to end his career early due to an labrum tear in his hip and a torn rotator cuff after being recognized as one of the top 50 breaststrokers his age in Canada. He competed successfully at both age …

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