American swimmer Natalie Coughlin won two gold medals in the Sydney Olympics four years ago, in addition to a bronze medal in the 100-meter freestyle.
The two-time gold medalist added an American record to her resume yesterday in that event, but then lost the race by nine hundredths of a second.
The oddity happened yesterday at the Santa Clara Grand Prix swim meet.
In tuning up for next month’s Olympic trials, Coughlin broke her American record of 53.40 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 53.39 at the George F. Haines International Swim Center.
However, Australia’s Cate Campbell got the better of Coughlin with a winning time and personal best 53.30, a mark that would have been a world record before this year. Coughlin had won the event at this meet seven years in a row.
Campbell, a relative newcomer, is only 15 years old. She swam a half-second faster than her personal best. Coughlin took her mixed bag in stride.
“I’ll take an American record. It’s not the Olympic final,” said Coughlin, the 25-year-old from Lafayette who won five medals at the Athens Olympics four years ago. “It’s Santa Clara. I’m not upset about that at all. Anytime I get a best time it’s exciting. I’m very, very, very happy where I am right now and hopefully where I’m heading.”
I know where I hope she’s heading…