There are few athletes who can make a mark on their sport like American swimming star Natalie Coughlin has.
Tonight, in Toronto , Coughlin won her 60th international medal spanning the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, and now the Pan American Games.
As soon as Allison Schmitt touched for gold in the women’s 4x100m medley relay on the final day of competition it was set in stone that Coughlin had done something others could only dream of accomplishing in their lifetime.
Coughlin played a major part in securing the gold medal for the United States, leading off the relay with a 59.05 backstroke split. That time is the fastest Coughlin has been since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and the fastest she’s ever been outside of the Beijing Olympic Games or 2008 Olympic Trials.
With the third fastest time in the world this year, Coughlin gave the Americans such a steady lead that they looked absolutely unbeatable.
Coughlin has been stellar all week. In the 100m freestyle, she swam the fastest time she has done since 2010. In the 50m freestyle, Coughlin managed a personal best time with a 24.66.
Coughlin’s success in the sport is unrivaled at this point. It was over 14-years ago that Coughlin won her first international medal when she took home two world titles at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka Japan.
During her career she has won 12 Olympic medals, 20 long course world championship medals, eight short course world championship medals, and now four Pan American games medals.
With some extremely strong performances this past week in Toronto, Coughlin looks to be as good as she always was as the United States Olympic Trials in Omaha are under a year away.