Former Pac-12 Swimmers Medal at 2011 FINA World Championships
SHANGHAI, China - Several former Pac-12 swimmers stood atop the medal podium for the United States at the 2011 FINA World Championships, held July 24-31 in Shanghai, China.
California's Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer and USC's Rebecca Soni teamed up with Missy Franklin to set the American record en route to a gold medal in the women's 4x100m medley relay (3:52.36). Coughlin got the team out to a lead in the backstroke leg, and then Soni and Vollmer helped distance the U.S. from the rest of the field in the breaststroke and butterfly legs. Franklin swam the freestyle leg as the Americans beat second-place China by more than three seconds (3:55.61).
Soni was named the top female swimmer of the meet after also capturing gold medals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke as well as a bronze in the 50m breaststroke. The world's top female swimmer in the breaststroke since the 2008 Olympic Games, Soni won the 100m breast in 1:05:05, ahead of Australian rival Leisel Jones (1:06.25) and China's Ji Liping (1:06.52). She won her second gold, taking the 200m breast in 2:21.47, to mark the biggest long course sweep of her career.
Vollmer claimed her first individual gold medal at a FINA World Championships when she won the 100m butterfly in 56.87. She trailed Australia's Alicia Coutts at 50 meters before pushing past her for the victory. Vollmer set the American record in the sem-ifinals, clocking 56.47.
Coughlin won a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke, finishing in 59.15. China's Zhao Jing took the gold in 59.05, and Rus-sia's Anastasia Zueva was second in 59.06.
Coughlin and Vollmer were also part of the women's 4x100m freestyle relay squad that captured a silver medal on the opening night of competition. The U.S. built a lead through the first three legs before the team from the Netherlands jumped ahead in the final 50 meters to finish in 3:33.96. The Americans touched the wall in 3:34.47.
Cal's Nathan Adrian anchored a come-from-behind win for the U.S. in the men's 4x100m medley relay. Nick Thoman, Mark Gangloff, Michael Phelps and Adrian edged Australia by two-tenths of a second, 3:32.06 to 3:32.26. The U.S. was in fourth place at the end of the breaststroke leg before Phelps moved the team into second with a strong swim in the butterfly. Adrian took the lead at the final turn and held off Australia's James Magnussen for the win. In the history of the World Championships, the U.S. has only lost the event in 1998, 2001 and 2007. Adrian also won a bronze medal in the 4x100m free relay.