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US Olympic Trials: Natalie Breezes in 100 Back Semis -- July 8, 2004 Natalie Coughlin getting ready to start the back at the 2004 Olympic Trials

By Phillip Whitten

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 8. NATALIE Coughlin breezed to the top seed in tomorrow’s final of the women’s 100-meter backstroke tonight at the US Olympic Trials in Long Beach.

The world record-holder in this event at 59.58 seconds, Coughlin clocked 1:00.91 in the semifinals, just off the 1:00.77 she swam in the prelims.

As expected, her former Cal Aquatics teammate, Haley cope, had the second-fastest time, 1:01.67, while Longhorn’s Hayley McGregory was third in 1:022.20.

The University of Virginia’s Brielle White, a product of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation program, became the first female PDR swimmer to final in the Olympic Trials, as she qualified fourth in 1:02.77.

Beth Botsford, the 1996 Olympic champion in this event was sixth, while Courtney Shealy, a 2000 Olympian in this event, was eighth in 1:02.91.

Results: US Olympic Trials Finals