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IRVINE, California, August 4. NATALIE Coughlin certainly proved she's back to her world-class self by dominating her pet event in the women's 100 back tonight at the U.S. Long Course Nationals, but she had to hold off some hard charging youngsters to surface victorious.
Coughlin went out in 28.92, just .21 off the world record pace of Gemma Spofforth (58.12) from 2009, but wound up taking the title in 1:00.14. That time improved upon her morning time of 1:00.21 that put her 10th in the world. The win was Coughlin's fifth in the long course version of the event with triumphs in 2001 (1:01.32), 2002 (59.58), 2005 (1:01.08) and 2008 (58.97 – American record).
Three teenagers trailed Coughlin, giving her something to think about at the touch. Colorado Stars' Missy Franklin, 15, undoubtedly one of the fastest rising stars in the U.S. this year, grabbed second in 1:00.39. That time clipped her previous personal best of 1:01.50 to move into the top 15 in the world.
Aquajets' Rachel Bootsma, 16, placed just a fingernail behind with a third-place time of 1:00.40 for a top 15 time of her own, while NBAC's Elizabeth Pelton, 16, could not replicate her sixth-ranked time of 59.99 from the Paris Open and settled for fourth in 1:00.48.
Terrapins' Presley Bard (1:00.76), Bluefish's Elizabeth Beisel (1:00.77), Indiana's Taylor Wohrley (1:01.73) and FAST's Mary Mohler (1:02.43) also competed in the championship finale.
Tennessee's Jenny Connolly put together a solid swim in the B final with a winning time of 1:01.11, just outside the top 25 in the world.
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