Coughlin returns to Cal

Sept. 2, 2004

BERKELEY, Calif. - Natalie Coughlin met the press yesterday at Haas Pavilion.

The now former Golden Bear brought all five medals - two gold, two silver and one bronze - that she won at the 2004 Summer Olympics. She recounted tales of her time in Athens and the trip home, with many members of the Bay Area media, including all the local television stations, a TV crew from the Philippines and Cal's Straw Hat Band in attendance.

Since returning from Greece, the 22-year-old has appeared on 'Late Night with David Letterman' and 'The Today Show.'

'I spent a lot of time in New York in the past week,' she said. 'It was very surprising to be recognized in restaurants and on the street. People pointing at me on the street is very weird.'

The modest swimmer was also a bit embarrassed when she was pointed out on her flights home.

'The last two times I was on a plane,' Coughlin said, 'the flight attendants felt the need to announce me.'

Coughlin plans to take a break after she swims at the World Championships in Indianapolis Oct. 7-11. While she's done competing at Cal, Coughlin still has one semester to go before graduating and will complete that this spring.

She won't be retiring anytime soon - Coughlin plans to compete at the next Summer Olympic Games, in Beijing, China, in 2008.

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