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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16 Comments on "Natalie Coughlin Becomes Most Decorated Female Olympic Swimmer"

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Deserved it? Meh, not sure about that one

Not a shabby career. Anybody think she’ll stick around? She’d be 33 for Rio and I don’t know how likely it’d be she’d keep swimming for upcoming World Championship meets or anything.

Hh!- that is a foolish comment and shows your ignorance about how relay medals have been distributed for years at previous Olympics. Even at the high school level, we reward our prelim swimmers with the final result place since, they did contribute.
I’m sure the decision to go without Natalie was difficult for the staff but I trust Coach McKeever’s judgement. Here is an interesting article about the selection and Natalie’s take-

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