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Coughlin Takes the 100 Back at US Trials, Just Misses World Record -- July 9, 2004 Natalie Coughlin and Haley Cope on the big screen after finishing 1-2 in the 100 Back - 2004 Olympic Trials

By Phillip Whitten

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 9. NATALIE Coughlin has appeared relaxed and smiling all week, exuding self-confidence. After her 100-meter backstroke final this evening, we know why.

Calling on her unparalleled underwater start, the 21 year-old Cal Aquatics superstar broke away from her challengers and forged a full, one-second lead at the turn. Flipping in 28.99 seconds, she was just off her own world record pace of 28.86 from 2002.

Coming home, Coughlin gradually lengthened that lead until she jammed the pads in 59.85 seconds, just off her own global standard of 59.58. It marked the third time she has broken the one-minute barrier. No other woman has ever swum under a minute.

To make things even sweeter, Natalie’s good friend and former teammate, Haley Cope, came charging home from fourth place at the turn to grab the second spot. Cope finished in 1:01.24.

Afterwards, Coughlin said: “I think the fact that I’m the world record-holder puts a lot of pressure on me. I will be considered the favorite (at the Olympics). Hopefully, I will get over the pressure and get better in six weeks.”

Two stars of the near future, Haley McGregory and Brielle White, placed third and fourth with times of 1:01.94 and 1:02.23, respectively.

Beth Botsford, the 1996 Olympic champion, was sixth in 1:02.38, while Courtney Shealy, a 2000 Olympian in this event, touched seventh in 1:02.89.
Coughlin Takes the 100 Back at US Trials, Just Misses World record

By Phillip Whitten

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 9. NATALIE Coughlin has appeared relaxed and smiling all week, exuding self-confidence. After her 100-meter backstroke final this evening, we know why.

Calling on her unparalleled underwater start, the 21 year-old Cal Aquatics superstar broke away from her challengers and forged a full, one-second lead at the turn. Flipping in 28.99 seconds, she was just off her own world record pace of 28.86 from 2002.

Coming home, Coughlin gradually lengthened that lead until she jammed the pads in 59.85 seconds, just off her own global standard of 59.58. It marked the third time she has broken the one-minute barrier. No other woman has ever swum under a minute.

To make things even sweeter, Natalie’s good friend and former teammate, Haley Cope, came charging home from fourth place at the turn to grab the second spot. Cope finished in 1:01.24.

Afterwards, Coughlin said: “I think the fact that I’m the world record-holder puts a lot of pressure on me. I will be considered the favorite (at the Olympics). Hopefully, I will get over the pressure and get better in six weeks.”

Two stars of the near future, Haley McGregory and Brielle White, placed third and fourth with times of 1:01.94 and 1:02.23, respectively.

Beth Botsford, the 1996 Olympic champion, was sixth in 1:02.38, while Courtney Shealy, a 2000 Olympian in this event, touched seventh in 1:02.89.

Results: US Olympic Trials Final