INDIANAPOLIS – Natalie Coughlin, world record-holder in the 100-meter backstroke, has committed to swim in the 7th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Oct. 7-11 in Conseco Fieldhouse.
Coughlin’s entry, contingent upon her selection to the U.S. World Championships team, will be determined during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming, which begin today (July 7) in Long Beach, Calif.
Her appearance in Indianapolis is part of a multi-year contract with Speedo, the number one brand of swimwear in the world and sponsor of the 7th FINA World Swimming Championships. At Trials, the Olympic Games and FINA World Championships, Coughlin will compete in Speedo’s Fastskin FSII, the world’s fastest swimsuit.
Coughlin, 21, will be a strong favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team in both the 100-meter backstroke and the 100m freestyle. As one of the world’s most versatile swimmers, she may well add the butterfly to her competition resume in Indianapolis.
The 7th FINA World Championships (25m) will take place in a temporary 25-meter competition pool to be constructed on the floor of Conseco Fieldhouse, home to the NBA Indiana Pacers and WNBA Indiana Fever.
“I am truly excited about the prospect of competing in the Worlds in such a tremendous setting as Conseco Fieldhouse,” Coughlin said. “Indianapolis always has been a great city for swimming and I know all of us look forward to fast swims in front of big crowds.”
Coughlin became the first – and still only – female swimmer to break the one-minute barrier (:59.58) in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2002 Summer National Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She went on to win five events in that meet.
Recently graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of California-Berkeley, Coughlin was named NCAA Swimmer of the Year three consecutive years and was the 2003 Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sports Woman of the Year. She lost only one race during her collegiate career.
Coughlin has broken six world records and 35 national records, and has won six World Championship medals. However, she is bidding to make her first U.S. Olympic team, having finished fourth in the individual medley in the 2000 Olympic Trials before her career blossomed. Coughlin trains in Berkeley with the California Aquatics Swim Club for coach Teri McKeever. She is represented by Janey Miller of Janey Miller Management.
Coughlin joins a star-studded lineup of swimmers who have committed to swim in the 7th FINA World Championships (25m) providing they qualify through their country’s selection process. Others include 19-year-old sensation Michael Phelps, who is bidding to match or surpass Mark Spitz’s record seven gold medals in an Olympics; Edwin Moses, currently the world’s fastest breaststroker; Jenny Thompson, the most decorated American female Olympian ever with 10 medals, including eight gold; and Olympic gold medalist and world champion Lindsay Benko of Elkhart, Ind.
Single-day tickets, which include admission for both morning preliminaries and evening finals sessions, go on sale at 10 a.m. today. Priced as low as $25, they can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling any Ticketmaster charge-by-phone number (1/317-239-5151 in central Indiana), or by visiting the Conseco Fieldhouse Box Office.
All-session tickets, groups ordering 10 or more tickets, and multiple-day ticket orders can be purchased by contacting Justin Hirnisey at Indiana Sports Corporation at 1/800-HI-FIVES, 1/317-237-5000 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.