Country: United States
At the 2008 Olympics, she became the first American female athlete in modern Olympic history to win six medals in one Olympics and the first woman ever to win a 100 m backstroke gold in two consecutive Olympics. She is known for her dominance in a short course pool and for her underwater kicking ability. She currently holds World, American and US Open records in various events and has eleven Olympic medals.
Coughlin was born in Vallejo, California. She went to school at St. Catherine of Siena School (Vallejo, California) from K-8 then Carondelet High School in Contra Costa county afterwards. Coughlin lives in Lafayette, California, was originally from Concord, California and is of Irish and one quarter Filipino heritage. Natalie Coughlin first began swimming at the local YMCA when she was only 10 months old. In 1998, at age 15, she became the first swimmer to qualify for the Summer National in all 14 events.
Prior to the 2004 Olympics, she was a student-athlete at Carondelet High School in Concord, California, University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a BA in psychology in 2005. She had won twelve National Collegiate Athletic Association Swimmer of the Year honors in her first three years at Cal.
Coughlin worked as an in-studio host for MSNBC during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
In April 2009, she married Crow Canyon Sharks swim coach, Ethan Hall. One of Coughlin's favorite hobbies is cooking. During the Beijing Olympics, she was invited to prepare an Asian-themed dish on the Today show.
It was announced on August 17, 2009 that she will compete in season 9 of Dancing with the Stars with season 1 professional champion, Alec Mazo. She was eliminated on the fifth episode.
2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games
Coughlin won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in the women's 100 m backstroke event and was a member of the silver medal women's 4×100 m freestyle relay with Kara Lynn Joyce, Amanda Weir, and Jenny Thompson. She also broke a world record and won gold as a member of the 4×200 m freestyle relay and obtained a silver in the 4x100m medley relay and a bronze in the 100 m freestyle. Her lead-off split on the 4×200 m relay would have won gold in the individual 200 m freestyle event.
2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games
In her second Olympics appearance, at Beijing in 2008, she became the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Olympics. She was elected joint captain of the US women's swimming team together with five-time Olympian Dara Torres and four-time Olympian Amanda Beard. Coughlin won the gold medal in the 100 m backstroke at those Games, becoming the first woman to retain the gold medal position in that event. She had lost her world record to Kirsty Coventry, the eventual winner of the silver medal, in the semi-final. When receiving her medal, her lip was still bleeding where she had bitten it during the race to distract her from the pain in her legs. She won a silver medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay, swimming with Lacey Nymeyer, Kara Lynn Joyce and Dara Torres, and also won bronze medals in the 200 m individual medley, 4x200 m freestyle relay, and the 100 m freestyle. She won a silver medal in her final race in the 4x100 medley relay swimming with Rebecca Soni, Christine Magnuson, and Dara Torres.
Women Athletes for Swimming