INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 29. OLYMPIC legend Natalie Coughlin, she of the 12 Olympic medals, continued her sprint freestyle career resurgence with a victory in the women's splash-and-dash this evening at the U.S. Nationals and World Championships.
Coughlin turned up a sweltering time of 24.97 to win the women's 50-meter freestyle tonight as the 30-year-old just missed her ninth-ranked season best of 24.90. But, that's all she needed to capture the Barcelona spot in the event, where she will look to add to her already heady amount of international hardware.
Meanwhile, First Colony's Simone Manuel nearly became the first 16-and-under swimmer to ever break 25 as she blasted a second-place time of 25.01. The future of women's sprint freestyle in the U.S., Manuel clipped her 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record of 25.06 from this morning that beat Missy Franklin's 2011 mark of 25.26.
Tucson Ford's Christine Magnuson, already on the team with a 50 fly win earlier in the meet, took third in 25.05. Training partner Margo Geer wound up fourth overall in 25.13.
SwimAtlanta's Amanda Weir (25.18), Trojan's Jessica Hardy (25.19), Wisconsin's Ivy Martin (25.20) and Tennessee's Caroline Simmons (25.48) wrapped up the championship field.
SwimMAC's Madison Kennedy turned in a 25.32 to clinch the B final in the event. That swim came up just short of her lifetime best of 24.93 from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Midlands' Natalie Hinds took down the C final field with a 25.61. That effort is a personal best, clearing a 25.87 from the 2013 Mel Zajac Junior International meet just a month ago.