Coughlin Leads USA to Gold at World Championships

July 21, 2003

BARCELONA, Spain - University of California star swimmer Natalie Coughlin helped the United States win the women's 400-meter freestyle relay at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain Sunday night.

The relay, in which Coughlin swam the leadoff leg, finished in a time of 3:38.09. Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Jenny Thompson swam the anchor-leg. Lindsay Benko and Rhi Jeffery took care of the second and third legs, respectively. Germany won the silver (3:38.73), followed by Australia (3:38.83).

On Monday, Coughlin failed to qualify for the 100m backstroke semifinals. The world record holder in that event, she cited illness as the reason. Coughlin has been ill since Saturday, and apparently was weakened by her strong performance in the 400m free relay.

Coughlin was still planning to swim the 100m butterfly final Monday night unless the doctor prohibits her, U.S. team spokeswoman Mary Wagner said.

'Obviously I'm very disappointed because this event (100m back) is the one I care about the most,' Coughlin said. 'The good part is that now I will have two days off to rest and will hopefully feel better for the rest of my events.'

Coughlin still has several other events to compete in during the weeklong competition. She is entered in the 100m free and two other relays. The championships conclude on Sunday, July 27. ESPN will televise the championships with daily coverage shown on ESPN or ESPN2. A schedule of events and TV times can be found at www.usa-swimming.com, while complete results will be posted at www.bcn03.org. Recaps will also be posted at www.calbears.com.

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