Natalie Coughlin Becomes Most Decorated Female Olympic Swimmer

After a rough US Olympic Trials, Natalie Coughlin has something to smile about. Though she did not swim in the finals of the 4×100 Freestyle relay Coughlin will earn herself a Bronze medal, having swum in the prelims. This ties her with Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson as the most decorated American female Olympian, and the most decorated female Olympic swimmer in what could be her final Olympic race.

Natalie Coughlin

Natalie Coughlin had a disappointing Olympic Trials, where she only qualified for one event: the 4x100m Freestyle Relay

Coughlin has won a medal in each of the 12 events she has swam at the Olympic Games.  In 2004, she won her first individual gold, defeating Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) and Laure Manaudou (FRA) in the 100m Backstroke.  She defended her title in this event in 2008, where she again defeated the Coventry (who was the world record holder at the time).  In Omaha, Coughlin was beat by youngsters Missy Franklin and Rachel Bootsma in the 100 Backstroke.  Coughlin’s third place finish was not enough for a chance to defend her backstroke title in London.

Natalie Coughlin focuses before her race at the 2012 US Olympic Trials in Omaha

Natalie Coughlin swam college at Cal Berkeley where she currently trains with coach Teri McKeever. During her NCAA career, she was Swimmer of the Year three years running and won eleven individual NCAA titles. Coughlin is also one of the most successful World Championships swimmers, with eighteen medals spanning eleven years from Fukuoka 2001 to Shanghai 2011. She has also found her fair share of fame outside of the pool, making appearances on Dancing with the Stars.

Natalie Coughlin swims in the prelims in the 100m Butterfly at the 2012 US Olympic Trials in Omaha, NE

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Swimster
10 years ago

I was a bit perturbed by the lack of enthusiasm Coughlin exemplified in her tweets as the U.S.A Women’s Team Captain for the women. No personal encouraging words, inspiring quotes, or congratulations or even acknowledgement for that matter of Franklin, Vollmer, or the outstanding medley relay performance. All such personal tweets were reserved for the Men’s team. Perhaps reserving personal tweets to “Kill it” to Ervin before his 50 is a much too macho phrase for her Women’s team. And I certainly don’t expect her to have the same intimate tweet moment with the women where she gushes about her favorite photo of the evening: Nathan Adrian on the way to the podium for his gold, peering back into the… Read more »

Karen
10 years ago

For all those who say she didn’t deserve it, or deserves an asterisk….then so do all the football players who have won the Super Bowl but never played once all season, along with all the baseball players who have a world series ring, just for being on the roster, but never played during the world series. They all get those titles b/c they are part of the team and as a team worked hard to get the team a championship. Same with Natalie….she was part of a team and she swam in the prelims and helpe get her team to the semi finals and finals. If she doesn’t deserve her medal then neither do all those other players who sport… Read more »

UCBSwimFan
Reply to  Karen
10 years ago

@Karen… No, no they dont deserve it either. And ur comment really makes no sense. So, that backfired on you a bit

Huh?
10 years ago

asterisk asterisk asterisk

Huh?
10 years ago

So? Just because it was done in the past makes it right/better?

LBSWIMFAN
Reply to  Huh?
10 years ago

It makes it fine. Get over it. You’re wasting your breath.

UCBSwimFan
Reply to  LBSWIMFAN
10 years ago

@Huh? is actually making a valid point and you @LBSwimfan have said nothing to refute it, just simply said “You’re wasting your breath” Not exactly a great argument against…

Lbswimfan
10 years ago

Huh-just for the record both ladies she tied have medals from relays where they only swam prelims too. Torres in 88 in the medley relay and Thompson in the same relay in 96.

Huh?
10 years ago

Sorry, I appoligize, I meant Dara Torres as the doper, not Dana Vollmer!! Dana Vollmer is an amazing swimmer and in NO WAY is anything like the dopper Dara Torres!!! AutoCorrect, sorry

Huh?
10 years ago

btw, CalFan, I’m a Cal swimmer and I am a massive fan of Coughlin, but let’s be honest here! Not a single solo qual… At least she didn’t dope like Dana, so she is the sole winner in my book, but lets put all aside and be honest here!

Huh?
10 years ago

Still, to get a record medal when she didn’t even swim the finals??? I am fully aware what the rules dictate, but there is a sense of pride to be had!! If you are going to tie a major record at least swim in the finals! It is of no fault of Natalie, but still, I believe that last medal deserves an asterisk. She is an amazing swimmer and has rocked it and I am no way taking away from her past swims! But, this is how she wins her final “record” medal??? Rules aside, you tell me, yes or no. Does she deserve to go into the record books when she didn’t even swim in the finals? She is… Read more »