Natalie Coughlin Says No More National Team Competition

12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin says that she’s probably done competing at World Championships and Olympic Games.

In an interview with NBC, Coughlin echoed her comments after missing the Olympic Team this summer, saying that she doesn’t feel the need to say she’s retired. Last week, however, she was more specific than she’d been in the past.

“I don’t see myself competing for the national team again…I think that part is in my past, which I’m happy about and grateful. I don’t see myself trying to go to a world championships or an Olympic team again, but at the same time you never know.”

Coughlin worked the NBC Sports broadcast of last weekend’s Arena Pro Swim Series meet in Indianapolis.

If this truly is the end of Coughlin’s major international career at 34, it goes down as one of the best that swimming has ever seen. She has won 60 major international medals, including 12 at the Olympics. That ties her with Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson for the most Olympic medals by a female swimmer of any nationality.

What’s most astonishing about those 12 medals is that they were won in her first 12 events. Through the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics, she won a medal in each of the 12 events she entered.

She will also forever hold a place in history as the first woman to ever swim the 100 long course meter backstroke in under a minute, which she did at just 19 years old.

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4 years ago

Definitely deserves a shout out if you’re naming top 5 all-time female swimmers.

Joel Lin
Reply to  PACFAN
4 years ago

The three most versatile American women swimmers of all time are Tracy Caulkins, Natalie Coughlin & Katie Ledecky. Hard stop. Natalie was simply fabulous.

Reply to  Joel Lin
4 years ago

Katie Hoff?

bobo gigi
Reply to  Joel Lin
4 years ago

I regularly try to educate myself about the past and the history of swimming because first, my swimming knowledges start in 2000 in Sydney. 🙂 But swimming has not started in 2000.
And after some researches I think it’s fair to say that for many, Tracy Caulkins is the best all-around female swimmer ever. She was incredibly versatile. She has broken American records in every stroke and on IM. Unfortunately the boycott in 1980 killed her chances of many many many gold medals.

Baker\'s Pearl Earrings
4 years ago

Heres to a hell of a career! 100 fly/back double is still the greatest NCAA swimming performance of all time. Much like Phelps, Coughlin has created the strongest generation ever of womens 100 backstrokers. Legend.

4 years ago

Is she still training everyday??

Prajwal Guruprasad
4 years ago

Everyone, please follow University Swim Club on youtube. Thanks!

4 years ago

There is something wrong, i dont recall coughlin participating in sidney 2000 and i m absolutly sure she won a relay medal in London 2012…check your facts

Reply to  Atento
4 years ago

Yes bronze 4x100m free relay but she didn’t compete in sydney

4 years ago

I thought she retired after Olympic trials.

Reply to  Steff
4 years ago

She didnt officially announce.

4 years ago

most breathtakingly fast first 50 of any female swimmer I have seen

4 years ago

Her underwaters were unreal.

Reply to  Bigly
4 years ago

She had the best underwaters !!! Legend

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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