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Another Coventry Diary – After Two Trips to Medal Podium  -- August 19, 2004 Coventry - Auburn

ATHENS, Greece, August 19. SWIMINFO gave you an earlier entry from Kirsty Coventry’s diary she is sharing with her friends and fans at Auburn. Then, she was just another Olympian representing her country, Zimbabwe, and sharing the excitement of the Opening Ceremonies with her college friends.

Auburn has authorized us to share another diary note; only now she writes after a silver medal (100 backstroke) and a bronze medal (200 IM). And she still has another event. Seeded 21st, she has already qualified third and has to be considered one of the leading possibilities for gold in the 200 backstroke. What a difference a few days can make! Congratulations, Kirsty.

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It's great to be an AUBURN TIGER!!! It is extremely hard to put my feelings into words. It is amazing to have set goals and had dreams of certain accomplishments and then achieve them! Winning two medals now is absolutely a dream come true and I must thank all of my Auburn Family for helping me do it.

The 100 back medal was not something I was as confident about, but instead more dreamed about. I was in lane one for the finals and I thought I have nothing to lose so why not just go out after it. I went out strong on the first 50 and with my training for my 200 events this summer I was able to hold my speed over the last 50. I couldn't see anyone because of my position in the pool so I just raced as hard as I could. It was amazing to turn up and look at the scoreboard and see a '2' next to my name! I had the biggest smile ever and I could see my Auburn teammates going crazy for me in the stands. I was also very happy when I finally noticed my time. It was a little over a two second drop from my previous best! Getting on the awards stand was so cool. Again, I had fun chatting with Natalie Coughlin; she showed me all of her family in the stands! Getting the medal put around my neck was so cool. And the wreath.... wow! I love the wreath! It is made from Olive branches and totally symbolizes Greece. The medal has the Goddess Nike on it. I have been told she is the Goddess who awarded the medals in ancient Greece - very cool. We did the walk down the deck where all the photographers take pictures, which was of course really cool too! Kim just got her pictures back of the ceremony and it got me excited all over again. We both said we need to watch the whole thing on TV to make it really sink in.

After the medal ceremony for the 100 back I had to immediately get ready for my 200 IM semi-final. I had about 1 hour form the end of my first race so we were a bit rushed. I felt really good about that race. I was very controlled on the first 150 of it, especially my backstroke, and then I really just pushed the freestyle. Kim said I got her a bit nervous! I qualified for finals in fourth place, which I thought was a very good position for me. After warming down again I had drug testing then off to the Village. I got to speak with my parents who were so excited and proud. It was great to hear their voices. My mom was upset during the live broadcast of the 100 back because at the finish they only focused in on Natalie's win and the had no idea who finished 2nd.
After cursing the TV, she screamed and jumped around with all my other family when they saw I had finished second! I wish so badly they could be here but I am glad they are broadcasting live coverage at home. I hear they stopped the TV programs to announce my finish to the country, which made me very proud. Zimbabwe has been so supportive of my swimming here at the Games and I am so thankful for that as well.

So, on Tuesday I got to sleep in and we went for a training session here at the Village. I tried to relax the rest of the afternoon but it is hard to keep my mind of my races to come. I've been getting my daily rub from our physio Dorkas and taking a mid afternoon nap. We went to the pool that night - business as usual. I felt pretty good and my goal again was to swim for a medal. I knew my competition, Yana Klochkova of the Ukraine, and the two Americans, Amanda Beard and Katie Hoff, are all very good and were ready to race. I just tried to stay in my own race and not go out too hard in the first 50, which is butterfly. I had a good backstroke split and felt strong in the breaststroke I just didn't finish the free as well as I would have like. I am so happy with my finish but like a lot of athletes I am not satisfied! I love that event and really want to continue to train to be faster in it. The awards ceremony was great again. Not as much chit chatting this time because I don't know Amanda as well as Natalie but still we had a good time! This time I gave my wreath to Kim and I hear she wore it around for the rest of the evening and was quite popular because of it!

Our Auburn crew also did well. Fred (Bousquet), Romy (Barnier) and George (Bovell) all had good morning swims and made it back to semis.
It was fun to watch them race. Unfortunately, they didn't make it back to finals but we're super proud of them and look forward to Fred and George's best events which are to come!

Today I had a wonderful day! I got to go downtown to have lunch with my best friend Alessandra (Lawless) and her mom. We had a nice long lunch and giggled a lot. I had a light training session and will go back to the pool to watch finals tonight. I am really looking forward to tomorrow. I can't wait to race with Margaret (Hoelzer). We always push each other so well and bring out the best in one another.

Today George and Jeremy (Knowles) swam the 200 IM. Jeremy had a solid race but just missed semis. George had an awesome morning swim winning his heat to qualify third for the semi finals. Looks like his strokes are on! The girls finally got to get in and race! Jana (Kolukanova) and Eileen (Coparropa) had the 100 free. Neither made it back and I am sure they aren't extremely thrilled with their swims but it is so hard to keep your nerves intact, especially in your first race. Eileen still has the 50 free so now with this race under her belt she can let it rip!

Tonight we'll go back to watch George in the IM and my South African friends in the men's 100 Free. Hopefully everyone will be great!

War Eagle until tomorrow!
Kirsty