Natalie Coughlin Breaks Pac-10 Championships Record in 50 Freestyle

Feb. 27, 2003

FEDERAL WAY, Wash.- One Pac-10 record was broken after the first day of events at the 2003 Pac-10 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, as California junior Natalie Coughlin smashed the 50-yard freestyle record (22.05) in the evening finals. UCLA leads the meet, hosted by the University of California at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

UCLA leads the field with 418.50 points. Stanford is second with 409 points, while USC is third with 353 points. Cal stands in fourth place (301) and Arizona State is fifth (239). The following schools are currently placed sixth through ninth: Arizona (217), Washington (144.5), Oregon State (139) and Washington State (95).

Coughlin's time in the 50 free also set a new University of California school record. She originally bested the previous conference meet record (Haley Cope, 22.32, 2001) in the morning preliminaries with a 22.13 finish. One of the most versatile swimmers in the world, Coughlin is a two-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year and one of five finalists for the AAU Sullivan Award, given to the nation's top amateur athlete. This is the second consecutive year she has been a finalist.

'Both her (Coughlin) prelim and final times in that event were lifetime bests,' Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. 'It was really nice for her to be able to swim and win that event here.

I think our team is off to a very solid start and believe that we should just continue to build on that.'

In addition to Coughlin's exciting 50 free was Cal's 200 free relay (Becks, Coughlin, Rockwell, Harper), which won the event in a season-best and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:31.01. The race was an exciting way to open the meet as Cal just edged out runner-up UCLA (1:31.18). Senior Michelle Harper swam a strong anchor leg to propel the Bears to their fifth-consecutive Pac-10 Championship 200 free relay victory. Stanford's squad took third in the event in 1:31.34. Cal took second in the 200 free relay (Amano, Palsson, Bingaman, Kong) consolation final in 1:34.77.

In the second event of the night, USC's Kaitlin Sandeno won the 500 free with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:39.50. Arizona's Emily Mason took second (4:43.27), while USC's Margie Pedder (4:44.88) finished third.

Also in the 500 free, Cal freshman Kate Tiedeman posted a victory in the consolation final, with an NCAA 'B' cut time of 4:48.94. That time is her best of the season and the team's second-best, as well.

USC captured its second event of the evening in the 200 IM, as Michala Kwasny notched a NCAA 'A' cut with a time of 1:58.67. Three other swimmers also notched NCAA automatic qualifying times, as ASU's Agnes Kovacs placed second in 1:59.18 and UCLA's Malin Svahnstrom finished third in 1:59.85. Stanford's Kristen Caverly finished the NCAA 'A' times, placing fourth in 2:00.35.

The Bears were impressive in the 200 IM as junior Natalie Griffith won the consolation final in the 200 IM in 2:02.58, an NCAA consideration time and her best performance of the season. Sophomore Amy Ng and freshman Helen Silver posted runner-up and third-place finishes, respectively in the bonus final. Ng touched the wall in second-place in 2:04.01, with Silver directly after at 2:04.30. Both were times were met NCAA 'B' standards and were season-best times.

The 50 free was another event that saw four swimmers post NCAA 'A' qualifying times. Coughlin led all swimmers with her record-breaking 22.05 time. UCLA's Sara Platzer notched a runner-up finish with a time of 22.66. Third-place finisher Kim Harada of Washington also swam an NCAA 'A' time (22.69), as did fourth-place finisher Lacey Boutwell of Stanford (22.86).

Freshman Whitney Rockwell swam her fastest time of the season, capturing the consolation final with an NCAA consideration time of 23.25. Senior Michelle Harper was also impressive, placing fourth with a season-best time of 23.39, also a 'B' cut time. Junior Danielle Becks also posted a first-place finish in the 50 free, winning the bonus final with a season-best and NCAA consideration time of 23.34. Freshman Cheryl Anne Bingaman finished fourth in the bonus final in 23.86, just a tenth of a second off from her season best of 22.85. Sophomore Emma Palsson finished up the swimmers for Cal in the 50 free, taking seventh in the bonus final with a season-best time of 23.92.

Stanford posted its first win of the night in the 400 medley relay, as the squad of Amy Wagner, Tara Kirk, Dana Kirk and Boutwell finished first in 3:35.94, an NCAA 'A' cut. Cal's team of Silver, senior Staciana Stitts, Coughlin and Becks took second in the event, also with an automatic qualifying time of 3:39.04. USC rounded out the top three finishers, clocking a 3:41.18 finish.

The Pac-10 men's and women's diving championships are also held this weekend. In today's action, 2002 NCAA Diver of the Year, USC's Blythe Hartley led the women's one-meter competition, placing first with 332.85 points. Stanford's Ashlee Rosenthal earned the runner-up finish (310.95), while UCLA's Regan Gosnell placed third (294.15).

The 2003 Pac-10 Women's Swimming and Diving and Men's Diving Championships continue tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 28. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. with the finals starting at 6 p.m. Races and dives for Friday will include the 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke, three-meter diving and 800-yard freestyle relay.

Results are updated live on the Internet at the completion of each race. Go to for complete recaps and results.

Pac-10 Championships Results (Thu., Feb. 27)
200 Free Relay-1. Cal (1:31.01), 2. UCLA (1:31.18), 3. Stanford (1:31.34), 4. Washington (1:31.98), 5. Arizona (1:32.53), 6. Arizona State (1:33.03), 7. USC (1:33.84), 8. Oregon State (1:34.61), 9. Washington State (1:36.76); 500 Free-1. Kaitlin Sandeno, USC (4:39.50), 2. Emily Mason, Arizona (4:43.27), 3. Margie Pedder, USC (4:44.88), 4. Jackie Lobdell, UCLA (4:47.07), 5. Joy Galloway, USC (4:48.54), 6. Katie Willis, Arizona (4:49.81), 7. Petra Banovic, ASU (4:50.24), 8. Asa Sandlund, USC (4:51.96); 200 IM-1. Michala Kwasny, USC (1:58.67), 2. Agnes Kovacs, ASU (1:59.18), 3. Malin Svahnstrom, UCLA (1:59.85), 4. Kristen Caverly, Stanford (2:00.35), 5. Brooke Winkler, UCLA (2:02.64), 6. Tami Ransom, Stanford (2:03.15), 7. Laura Davis, Stanford (2:03.48), 8. Marisa Kozak, USC (2:04.77); 50 Free-1. Natalie Coughlin, Cal (22.05), 2. Sara Platzer, UCLA (22.66), 3. Kim Harada, Washington (22.69), 4. Lacey Boutwell, Stanford (22.86), 5. Claire Hedenskog, Arizona State (23.14), 6. Kim Vandenberg, UCLA (23.19), 7. Sarah Jones, Stanford (23.20), 8. Jessica Hayes, Arizona (23.55); One-Meter Diving-1. Blythe Hartley, USC (332.85), 2. Ashlee Rosenthal, Stanford (310.95), 3. Regan Gosnell, UCLA (294.15), 4. Trisha Tumlinson, Arizona State (293.65), 5. Nicci Fusaro, USC (286.25), 6. Claire Febvay, Arizona (272.25), 7. McKenze Murphy, Stanford (256.85), 8. Paige Thompson, UCLA (246.55); 400 Medley Relay-1. Stanford (3:35.92), 2. Cal (3:39.04), 3. USC (3:41.18), 4. UCLA (3:41.94), 5. Oregon State (3:43.69), 6. Arizona State (3:43.77), 7. Washington (3:47.72), 8. Washington State (3:49.16).

Cal at 2003 Pac-10 Championships (Thu., Feb. 27)
Team Scores: 4. Cal (301). 200-yard Freestyle Relay- 1. Cal 'A' (Becks, Coughlin, Rockwell, Harper) 1:31.01, Cal 'B' (Amano, Palsson, Bingaman, Kong) 1:34.77); 500-yard Freestyle-9. Kate Tiedeman 4:48.94, 11. Ashley Chandler 4:52.54, 15. Lauren Medina 4:54.52, 21. Lisa Morelli 4:56.48. 200-yard Individual Medley-9. Natalie Griffith 2:02.58, 18. Amy Ng 2:04.01, 19. Helen Silver 2:04.30. 50-yard Freestyle-1. Natalie Coughlin 22.05, 9. Whitney Rockwell 23.25, 11. Michelle Harper 23.39, 17. Danielle Becks 23.34, 20. Cheryl Bingaman 23.86, 23. Emma Palsson 24.11. 400-yard Medley Relay-2. Cal (Silver, Stitts, Coughlin, Becks) 3:39.04. Three-Meter Diving (men)- 7. Nic Bartolotta (471.75).

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