Pac-10 Olympic Spotlight: Swimming
Aug. 12, 2008
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2008 Pac-10 Olympic Accomplishments - Aug. 11
- Natalie Coughlin, CAL, became the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the 100m backstroke with her victory in Tuesday's final.
- USC senior Rebecca Soni, a two-time 2008 NCAA champion and the 2008 Olympic Trials champion in the 200-meter breaststroke, won a silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke with a personal-best 1:06.73.
- The U.S. men's indoor volleyball team - which includes Stanford's Gabe Gardner and Kevin Hansen - is 2-0 in preliminary pool play after a victory over Venezuela in their opener and a four-set defeat over Italy on Tuesday.
- Tina Thompson, USC, scored 13 of her 27 points during a 23-0 run in the first quarter and the U.S. women's basketball team routed China 108-63 on Monday night. Fellow Trojan Lisa Leslie added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the U.s.
PAC-10 OLYMPIC PARTICIPANT SPOTLIGHT:
PAC-10 ATHLETE: Natalie Coughlin
PAC-10 INSTITUTION: California
CURRENT OR FORMER ATHLETE: Former (2001-04)
OLYMPIC EVENT(S): United States Women's Swimming
California women's swimming legend Natalie Coughlin added Olympic medal No. 7 to her all-time count after capturing gold in the 100-meter backstroke with an American-record time of 58.96 Monday night at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing.
Despite having her backstroke world record of 58.97 (which she set at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., in July) broken in the semifinal round by Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry (58.77) earlier in the day, Coughlin became the first woman to repeat as the 100-meter backstroke champion since its inception to the Summer Games in 1924. Additionally, this is the 10th time that a woman from United States has captured gold in the 100 back.
This was Coughlin's second medal of the 2008 Games (also won silver in the 4x100-meter free relay on Saturday). The northern California native enters tonight's 200-meter individual medley final seeded fourth. Other events in Coughlin's Olympic program include the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, 100-meter freestyle, and 4x100-meter medley relay.
Arguably the greatest female swimmer in Cal history, Coughlin won 12 NCAA titles with the Golden Bears (the second-most career titles for a women's swimmer in NCAA history). She was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year. Her success only grew more after her collegiate tenure. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Coughlin became the third American woman to win five medals at one Olympics (the others are gymnasts Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller). She took gold in the 100-meter backstroke and the 800-freestyle relay, breaking the world record in that event. Coughlin also won silver medals in the 400-free relay and the 400-medley relay, and a bronze in the 100 free. At the 2008 Olympic Trials, Coughlin lowered her then world record in the 100 back to 58.97. In addition, she finished second in both the 100 free (53.83) and 200 individual medley (2:10.32).
(Courtesy of calbears.cstv.com)
PAC-10 ATHLETE: Jean Basson
PAC-10 INSTITUTION: Arizona
CURRENT OR FORMER ATHLETE: Current (Junior)
OLYMPIC EVENT(S): South Africa Men's Swimming
Jean Basson gave Team South Africa its best result of the Beijing Olympics to date when he posted a career-best 1:45.97 and finished fourth in the 200m freestyle finals. America's Michael Phelps who won the race in a new world record time of 1:42.96.Basson had the third fastest reaction time from the block and in his normal fashion was conservative over the first lap to turn in seventh. Over the next 150m he moved through to fourth keeping close to the adjacent Peter Vanderkaay (USA) in lane four.
Visibly throwing everything at it in the final quarter, Basson was unable to out-stroke the American who took third in 1:45.14. 'It motivates me to go back to Arizona, train harder on my start and turns and then I can come back next time and grab a medal.'
Basson says he believes the team will have a really good chance of making the final in the relay, referring to the 4 x 200 freestyle which begins tonight.
Although ranked fifth going into the Games they will have to target the Polish and Austrian teams if they are to achieve their goal as the US, Australia, Italy and Britain are sure to make the grade.
A member of the 2008 NCAA Champion Arizona swim program, Basson contributed to the Wildcats' championship performance with a third place (4:15.75) finish in the 500 yd. freestyle and a fourth place showing (1:33.37) in the 200 yd. freestyle. He also took sixth place (14:54.54) in the 1650 freestyle. A member of the NCAA Championship 800 freestyle relay (6:12.85) that set new NCAA and school records, Basson should be a major contributor for South Africa in tonight's relay competition.
Basson's individual Conference credits include winner of the 2008 Pac-10 Championship 500 Freestyle (4:15.29), and 2006-07 Pac-10 Conference Newcomer of the Year.
(Courtesy of www.supersport.co.za/aquatics and arizonaathletics.com)
|PAC-10 MEDAL COUNT (as of August 12, 2008)|
|PAC-10 MEDAL COUNT* (as of August 12, 2008)|
*Pac-10 Medal Count relects individual medals as well as medals won as part of a team effort.
Click Here for a complete breakdown of Pac-10 Olympic Medals by sport.