Natalie Coughlin: Swimming Twelve-time Olympic Medalist Reveals her Secret of Success ‘Dedication, Sacrifice and Lots of hard Work’

Natalie Anne Coughlin Hall was born on 23rd August 1982. She is an American competition swimmer and model, she is twelve-time Olympic medalist. Ten days before her 20th birthday in 2002, she became the first woman ever to swim the 100-meter backstroke (long course) in under a minute. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, she became the first U.S. female athlete in modern Olympic history to win six medals in one Olympiad, and the first woman ever to win a 100-meter backstroke gold in two consecutive Olympics.

Coughlin’s success has earned her the World Swimmer of the Year Award one time and American Swimmer of the Year Award three times. She has won a total of forty-nine medals in major international competition, twenty-two gold, seventeen silver, and ten bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific Championships. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, she earned a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Her total of twelve Olympic medals tie her with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres for the most all-time by an American woman.

Coughlin was born in Vallejo, California, and is of Irish and one quarter Filipino ancestry.Coughlin first began swimming at the local YMCA when she was only 10 months old. She attended St. Catherine of Siena School in Vallejo, for kindergarten through eighth grade, and then Carondelet High School in Concord, California. While in high school in 1998, she became the first swimmer to qualify for the Summer National in all fourteen events. Coughlin broke two individual national high school records in the 200-yard individual medley (1:58.45) and the 100-yard backstroke (52.86). She graduated from Carondelet High School in 2000.

Coughlin attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she swam for coach Teri McKeever’s California Golden Bears swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 2001 to 2003. During her three years as a Cal Bears swimmer, she won eleven individual NCAA national championships, and a twelfth NCAA relay title. She was recognized as the NCAA Swimmer of the Year for three consecutive years; Sports Illustrated magazine named her its college Female Athlete of the Year. She graduated from the University of California with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2005.

At the ninth World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, Coughlin won three medals-one gold, one silver, and one bronze. She won her gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke with Diana Mocanu(Romania) taking the silver and Antje Buschschulte (Germany) taking the bronze. Coughlin won her silver medal in the women’s 4×100-meter medley relay, teaming up with Megan Quann, Mary Descenza, and Erin Phenix; the Australians won the gold (Calub, Jones, Thomas, Ryan). Coughlin won her bronze medal in the 50-meter backstroke; fellow American Haley Cope won gold and Antje Buschschulte won the silver.

At the ninth Pan Pacific Championships in Yokohama, Japan, Coughlin won six medals-four golds and two silvers. Coughlin won one of her gold medals in the women’s 100-meter backstroke with a time of 59.72, and another in the women’s 100-meter butterfly with a time of 57.88. Coughlin won her third gold medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle with a time of 53.99. She won her fourth gold medal in the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay with Elizabeth Hill, Diana Munz, and Lindsay Benko. She won her silver medals as a member of the second-place U.S. relay teams in the 4×100-meter freestyle and 4×100-meter edley events.

At the tenth World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Spain, Coughlin won two medals, including a gold and a silver. Coughlin won her gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay and a silver medal in the 4×100-medley relay.

Coughlin worked as an in-studio host for MSNBC during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Coughlin competed in season 9 of Dancing with the Stars with season 1 professional champion, Alec Mazo. Coughlin appeared in the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She has also written a book called Golden Girl.

Career Highlights of Natalie Coughlin:

  • Won her women’s record 20th career FINA World Championships medal with a gold medal in the 400m free relay in 2013
  • Qualified for the 2013 FINA World Championships with a win in the 50m free at Phillips 66 Nationals
  • The 50m national LCM title was the 16th of her career in six different events
  • Won bronze in the 400m free relay at the 2012 Olympic Games in London
  • Qualified for the 2012 Olympic team by finishing sixth in the 100m free
  • Collected a bronze medal in the 100m back at the 2011 FINA World Championships while helping the 4x100m medley relay set an American record and win gold; also picked up a silver in the 4x100m free relay and finished eighth in the 100m free
  • Won the 100m back, placed third in the 100m free, and helped the 4x100m free-relay and 4x100m med-relay to second place finishes at the 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships
  • Claimed the national title in the 100m back during the 2010 CP National Championships
  • First woman ever to win back-to-back Gold medals in the same event in consecutive Olympics, 100m back (2004/2008)
  • Became the third woman to win five medals in a single Olympics
  • She became the first woman to swim the 100m back in less than one minute
  • 2002 USA Swimming Swimmer of the Year
  • Three-time NCAA Swimming of the Year
  • Three-time National Sullivan Award Finalist (nation’s top amateur athlete)
  • First person since Tracy Caulkins (1978) to win five U.S. National titles at one meet (August 2002).

Olympic Wins of Natalie Coughlin:

-2012: (P) Bronze 4×100 Fr-R     … 2008: Gold, 100m BK; Silver, 400m FR-R (AR)/ 400m MR; Bronze, 200m IM/100m FR (AR)/ 800m FR-R (AR) … 2004: Gold, 100m BK/800m FR-R(WR); Silver, 400m FR-R(AR) & 400m MR; Bronze, 100m FR

World Championship Wins of Natalie Coughlin:

-2013: Gold, 400m FR-R; 11th, 50m FR … 2011: Gold, 400m MR; Silver, 400m FR-R; Bronze, 100m BK; 8th, 100m FR … 2007: Gold, 100m BK(WR)/800m FR-R(WR); Silver, 400m FR-R(AR)/400m MR; Bronze, 100m FL(AR); 4th, 100m FR(AR); 8th, 50m FR … 2005: Gold, 800m FR-R; Silver, 100m FR(tie) & 400m MR; Bronze, 100m BK & 400m
FR-R … 2003: Gold, 400m FR-R; Silver, 400m MR … 2001: Gold, 100m BK & 800m FR-R(AR); Silver, 400m MR; Bronze, 50m BK

Pan Pacific Championship Wins of Natalie Coughlin:

-2010: Gold, 100m FR & 400m FR-R & 400m MR; Bronze, 100m BK … 2006: Gold, 100m FR & all three relays; Silver, 50m FR & 100m BK … 2002: Gold, 100m FR(AR) & 100m
BK & 100m FL; Gold, 800m FR-R; Silver, 400m FR-R & 400m MR … 1999: no medals
-SC Worlds History: 2010: Gold, 100m BK; Silver, 4x100m FR-R / 4x100m MR; Bronze, 100m FR

Records set by Natalie Coughlin:

Held World Record in 100m BK (SCM), set at Duel In The Pool, Holds WR in 400m MED-R (SCM), set at Duel In The Pool … Former WR holder in 400m FR-R (SCM), set at Duel In The Pool … Former WR holder in 100m BK (SCM), set at 2010 FINA World Champs (25m) … Former WR holder in 400m MED-R (SCM), set at 2010 FINA World Champs (25m) …Former WR holder in 400m FR-R (SCM), set at 2010 FINA World Champs (25m) … Former WR holder in 100m BK (Prelim), set at 2008 Olympic Trials … Former WR holder in 100m BK, set at 2008 Olympic Trials … Holds AR in 100y FR, set at Georgia Fall Invitational … Holds AR in 400m FR-R, set at 2008 Olympic Games … Holds AR in 400m MED-R, set at 2008 Olympic Games … Holds AR in 100m FR, set at 2008 PC XLI Santa Clara International … Holds AR in 200y FR, set at 2007 Long Beach Grand Prix … Holds USO in 200m IM, set at 2008 CA Janet Evans Invite … Holds USO in 100m BK (Prelim), set at 2008 Missouri Grand Prix … Holds USO in 200y FR, set at 2007 Long Beach Grand Prix

More Honors for Natalie Coughlin:

  • Three-time Sullivan Award finalist for the nation’s top amateur athlete (2001 -02, 05)
  • 2004 Female Athlete of the Year and two-time Relay Performance of the Year (2004 Olympic and 2005 World Champ 800m free relay)
  • 2003 Women’s Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year
  • 2002 USA Swimming Athlete of the Year International
  • 2002 Swimming World Female World Swimmer of the Year

Meet Honors for Natalie Coughlin:

  • First woman under 1-minute in the 100m backstroke
  • Swam the lead-off leg of the world record-setting 800m free-relay at the 2004 Olympic
  • Games (the former 17-year-old record was the oldest one on the books); her lead-off
  • split was the second- fastest time by an American woman and would have won the 200m free individually in Athens
  • Three-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year (2001-03), won 11 of 12 possible NCAA titles over her career; also won one NCAA relay title
  • 2004 Sports Illustrated on Campus’ Female Athlete of the Year

High School:

  • 1998 Swimming World National High School Swimmer of the Year
  • Top female point-getter on 1998 and 1999 Scholastic All-American teams

Full Interview on Next Page!

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