Hardy, Vollmer, McKeever Tabbed for World Championships
March 1, 2007
BERKELEY - California sophomore swimmers Jessica Hardy and Dana Vollmer will join Golden Bears head coach Teri McKeever and former Bears star Natalie Coughlin as part of the United States contingent at the 12th FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, March 17-April 1. Hardy and former U.S. Olympians Vollmer and Coughlin are among 43 swimmers on the U.S. team who will compete Down Under, while McKeever is an assistant coach for the national team.
The open water athletes will kick off the event, competing March 18-25 at St. Kildas beach just outside of Melbourne. The pool swimming events, which are March 25-April 1, will be contested in a temporary pool at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Park.
Hardy, a product of Long Beach, Calif., is the defending NCAA champion in the 100-yard breaststroke and is a former world-record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke. She last competed for the United States at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships last August in Victoria, B.C., Canada, where she won a gold medal as part of the U.S. 400-meter medley relay. She took ninth place in the 100 breaststroke in Victoria. Hardy will again challenge the world's best in her specialty, the 100 breaststroke, at the World Championships.
Vollmer, from Granbury, Texas, was a 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist as part of the record-setting 4x200-meter freestyle relay that included Coughlin. She also competed for the U.S. team at the Pan Pacific Championships in Canada, where she won gold as part of the U.S. 4x200-meter free relay and took fifth in the 200 free. Vollmer, a threat to win multiple titles at NCAAs, is slated to swim the 200-meter free and the 4x200-free relay in Melbourne.
McKeever, who resides in El Cerrito, Calif., has represented the United States in important roles of late. She made history as the first woman to be named head coach of a U.S. national team at a major international meet, after being tabbed to lead the Americans at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships. She also made history as the first woman to be named a coach of a U.S. Olympic swimming team when she served as an assistant coach at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Coughlin, who now calls Vallejo, Calif., home, has starred for the U.S. team over the last several years, including in 2004, when she won a U.S. record-tying five Olympic medals. Two of those medals were gold and came in the 100-meter backstroke and 4x200-free relay. She won silver in the 4x100-free and medley relays and bronze in the 100 free. Coughlin has five events that she'll compete in in Australia: the 50 and 100 frees, 100 back, 100 butterfly and 4x100-free relay.
McKeever and her current swimmers will head to Australia after the conclusion of the upcoming NCAA Championships, which run March 8-10 in Minneapolis, Minn.