AUBURN, AL., December 7. MARY T. is no more!
Mary T. Meagher, triple gold-medalist at the Los Angeles Olympics and holder of the oldest American record on the books, her 1:52.99 200 yard butterfly standard from the U.S. Nationals at Harvard exactly 21 years, seven months and 29 days ago, has seen her final mark erased from the books as Cal's Natalie Coughlin did it yet once again here tonight.
After setting an American/NCAA record of 1:42.65 for the 200 yard freestyle last night on Day 2 of the Tiger Invitational at Auburn's James E. Martin Aquatic Center here, site of next year's NCAA Div. I women's championships, Coughlin won the 200 fly on the meet's concluding night in an unbelieveable (and, really, that's the only adjective that adequately describes her swims) 1:51.91.
cumulative: 24.96 52.88 1:21.66 1:51.91
by 50s: 24.96 27.92 28.78 30.25
For the record, Coughlin now holds American/NCAA standards in the 100-200 yard freestyles, 100-200 backstrokes and 100-200 yard butterflys — something not even the incomparable Mark Spitz ever accomplished.
Coughlin is also world record-holder in the 100 meter backstroke, was World Champion in that race last year and was just announced as Swimming World's female "World Swimmer of the Year" this week.
"My coaches told me that I could break it tonight and they have yet to be wrong. Actually, they have been very accurate, even telling me what time I would go," Coughlin said. "To be honest, it hurt a lot to go all out like that, and I am even a little embarrassed about how I finished. But overall, I am very happy with the swim."
"This was an exceptional weekend for Natalie, especially for it being mid-season," Cal coach Teri McKeever said. "She really put forth a gutsy performance, not just in breaking the records tonight and last night, but coming back fifteen minutes later tonight to lead off the (400 free) relay and going 48.00."
Coughlin's old pr was a 1:54.52, swum in a dual-meet against USC at the Trojans' McDonald's Olympic Pool last February. That time is still 12th-fastest on the performances' list, sixth-performer and is No. 1 all-time on the dual-meet list.