US Olympic Trials: Natalie Breezes in 100 Back Semis

By Phillip Whitten

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 8. NATALIE Coughlin breezed to the top seed in tomorrow’s final of the women’s 100-meter backstroke tonight at the US Olympic Trials in Long Beach.

The world record-holder in this event at 59.58 seconds, Coughlin clocked 1:00.91 in the semifinals, just off the 1:00.77 she swam in the prelims.

As expected, her former Cal Aquatics teammate, Haley cope, had the second-fastest time, 1:01.67, while Longhorn’s Hayley McGregory was third in 1:022.20.

The University of Virginia’s Brielle White, a product of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation program, became the first female PDR swimmer to final in the Olympic Trials, as she qualified fourth in 1:02.77.

Beth Botsford, the 1996 Olympic champion in this event was sixth, while Courtney Shealy, a 2000 Olympian in this event, was eighth in 1:02.91.

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