By Shoshanna Rutemiller, Swimming World
29-year-old Natalie Coughlin, born August 23, 1982, in Vallejo, California is a seasoned Olympic veteran. However, going into her third Olympics, Coughlin's Olympic role has changed. The most shocking change is that she won't be representing Team USA in any individual events.
"I have just a relay on the first day, and then I'm done and there to support my teammates," Coughlin told reporters after a disappointing trials run in Omaha.
Coughlin opted to add the 100 butterfly to her trials schedule for the first time, after a change in the normal trials events order placed the butterfly before the 100 backstroke. Whether or not this choice affected Coughlin's trials outcome is up for speculation.
After failing to qualify for the Olympics in either the 100 butterfly or the 100 backstroke, Coughlin told reporters:
"I'm not as disappointed as everyone expects me to be. You can't cry over what you can't control."
Due to NBC rights holder restrictions, the following video interview is only viewable until 7/27/2012:
In 1998, at age 15, Coughlin became the first swimmer to qualify for Summer Nationals in all 14 events.
She followed this with an incredible high school career, in which she broke national high school records in the 200 IM (1:58.45) and 100 backstroke (52.86).
Coughlin graduated from UC Berkeley in 2005, after competing in the 2004 Athens Olympics. She is an 11-time Olympic medalist, so far earning three Gold, four silver, and four bronze.
In Beijing 2008, she became the first modern female Olympic athlete to win six medals in one Olympics. Adding to this accomplishment, she was the first woman to win the 100 backstroke in two consecutive Olympics. Not to mentions she was the first woman to swim the 100 meter backstroke in under a minute.
After the 100 butterfly, her first race at trials in Omaha, Coughlin backed up her decision to swim the race by saying, "It's just good to have the opportunity to place yourself on the team in as many events as possible. My goal is to earn my ticket to London this week."
As the week continued on, Coughlin eventually managed to earn her ticket, by placing sixth in the 100 freestyle finals. This placing puts her as a relay alternate in the women's 4x100 freestyle relay.
"First or sixth, it doesn't really matter, I'm really just excited to earn my ticket to London," said Coughlin.
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