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IRVINE, California, August 19. USA's Natalie Coughlin proved that even with a year away from the water, she's still one of the best swimmers in the world. Coughlin claimed her third straight Pan Pacific title in the women's 100 free at the Pan Pacific Championships tonight.
Coughlin raced to a 53.67 in the event, moving to third in the world behind only Ranomi Kromowidjojo (53.44) and Fran Halsall (53.58). Coughlin previously won the Pan Pac title in 2002 (53.99) and 2006 (53.87) and clipped the meet record of 53.76 set by Amanda Weir back in 2006. The U.S. has won the race in every Pan Pac since 1991.
Australia's Emily Seebohm and USA's Dana Vollmer tied for second with matching 53.96s. Vollmer had been faster this year with a fifth-ranked 53.94, while Seebohm moved to sixth in the world – up from 20th heading into the race.
Australia's Yolane Kukla touched fourth in 54.02, clearing her personal best of 54.17, to jump into the top 10 in the world. Canada's Victoria Poon (54.45), Japan's Haruka Ueda (54.93), Hong Kong's Hannah Wilson (55.32) and New Zealand's Hayley Palmer (56.04) completed the championship field.
USA's Jessica Hardy ripped off a time of 54.16 to win the B final. That swim just missed her top 10 ranked season best of 54.14 set at the U.S. Nationals earlier this month.
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