FINA World Championships Recap
July 28, 2003
BARCELONA, Spain - University of California star Natalie Coughlin was the only Golden Bear to medal at the 10th FINA World Championships July 20-27 in Barcelona, Spain. Despite being ill during the championships, Coughlin led the U.S. 400-meter free and medley relays to gold and silver medals.
With a fever, sore throat and headache during the first day of competition, Coughlin still swam an impressive leadoff leg (54.64) to kick-start the U.S. 400m free relay team to a gold medal (3:38.09) over runner-up Germany (3:38.73). Lindsey Benko, Rhi Jeffrey and Jenny Thompson were the other members of the relay.
Coughlin's illness took its toll on her as she finished eighth in the 100m butterfly final (59.63) and failed to qualify for the 100m backstroke final. The world record holder in the 100m back, Coughlin was very disappointed, but looked forward to the rest before continuing the competition.
Unable to qualify for the 100m free, Coughlin's viral illness also kept her from competing in the 200m back trials and as a member of the 800m free relay. However, she battled back and lead the U.S. 400m medley relay with a strong backstroke leg (1:02.26) to help the squad to a runner-up finish (4:00.83). China's team won the 400m medley relay in a world championships record time of 3:59.89. Amanda Beard, Thompson and Benko were the other members of the relay.
Other current Bears who made it to the final rounds included Michael Cavic and Jens Thiele from the Cal men's swimming team. Cavic, competing for Yugoslavia's national team, finished eighth in the 100m free (49.65), while Thiele swam the lead-off leg (50.0.1) for Germany's 400m free relay team that finished fifth (3:15.98).
Former Golden Bears Haley Cope and Gordan Kozulj also made it to the finals. Cope placed eighth in the 50m back (28.99), while Kozulj (Croatia) took second-place in the 200m back (1:57.47).
Several other current and former Cal swimmers also competed in the championships including Anthony Ervin (U.S.), Duje Draganja (Croatia), Alex Lim (Malaysia), Miguel Molina (Philippines), Henrique Barbosa (Brazil), Ericka Lorenz (H20 Team USA), Heather Petri (H20 Team USA), Bart Kizierowski (Poland) and Mattias Ohlin (Sweden).
Team USA topped all countries on the medal chart, earning 28 total medals including 11 gold. The Americans also set eight world records. Australia notched the second-most medals with 22 total including six gold.
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