FINA World Championships, Swimming: Natalie Coughlin Surges to Top Seed in 100 Back Semis

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SHANGHAI, China, July 25. USA's Natalie Coughlin, the all-time women's career leader with 16 world championships medals, will be looking for more hardware after qualifying for the finale in the women's 100 back at the FINA World Long Course Championships.

Coughlin cruised to a top seed with a 59.38, and is in form to regain her world title in the event from 2007. Coughlin took 2009 off to focus on building her celebrity brand with various projects including Dancing With The Stars, but has definitely returned full force to the pool.

"It's very, very fast," Coughlin said of the event. "That's a reason for everyone to swim better in the final. It's a good experience. I am very happy with it. This is my fifth World Championships. It's the best job. I train very hard."

Russia's Anastasia Zueva qualified second in 59.41, and will be looking to improve upon her silver medal from 2009, while China's Zhao Jing earned the third seed in 59.44. Australia's Emily Seebohm, who has been afflicted with several illnesses so far this year, qualified fourth with a 59.54. Seebohm is the defending bronze medalist.

After becoming Canada's first ever sub-1:00 performer in prelims with a 59.80, Sinead Russell lowered her national record even further with a 59.68 to grab the sixth seed, while Australia's Belinda Hocking (59.69), Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (59.80) and Japan's Aya Terakawa (59.81) all made the finale.

Surprisingly, Japan's Shiho Sakai did not make the finale, even with a ninth-place 59.94.

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