Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer Nominated for 2009 ESPY Awards
June 30, 2009
BERKELEY - Former California swimming stars Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer were nominated for 2009 ESPY awards. Coughlin, who starred at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, is vying for the Best Female Athlete award, while Vollmer, who won five NCAA titles this past season, is nominated in the Best Female Collegiate Athlete category. Fans have the chance to select the winners by voting online at www.ESPYS.tv. The ESPY award ceremony takes place on Wednesday, July 15, at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles and will be hosted by actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Coughlin became the first U.S. women's athlete to win six medals in one Olympiad when she won one gold (100-meter backstroke), two silver (4x100-meter freestyle relay and 4x100-meter medley relay) and three bronze (100-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley and 4x200-meter freestyle relay) medals last summer in Beijing. Along with the five Olympic medals she won in 2004, Coughlin has attained 11 career Olympic medals, one shy of 2008 Olympic teammate Dara Torres and former U.S. star Jenny Thompson, who are tied for the record for most Olympic women's swimming medals with 12. Coughlin is tied with former Cal men's swimmer Matt Biondi with the most Olympic medals by any Cal athlete. She won 12 NCAA titles while at Cal.
In 2008-09, her final season as a Golden Bear, Vollmer won two individual titles, two relay titles and the overall team championship with Cal in March at the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in College Station, Texas. Vollmer, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist for the United States, won the 100- and 200-yard freestyles and was a member of the winning 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays for the Bears at NCAAs in 2009. She also won a 2007 NCAA title in the 100-yard butterfly. Along with Coughlin in 2004, Vollmer won an Olympic gold medal as part of the winning U.S. 800-free relay.
All proceeds from the ESPYs and related events benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research in memory of the late Jim Valvano.