How Can’t She? With Epic Effort at Pan Am Games, Natalie Coughlin Going Back In Time

Natalie Coughlin by Patrick B. Kraemer

With time of 59.20 leading off the American 400 medley relay at the Pan American Games, Natalie Coughlin is again a major factor in the 100 backstroke.

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With time of 59.20 leading off the American 400 medley relay at the Pan American Games, Natalie Coughlin is again a major factor in the 100 backstroke.


Personal Best

Wow; whatever the finals time, she’s proving the adage ‘mind over matter’.

I’m surprised, but I’m not surprised if that makes sense.


I will be hated, lol, but I still believe that her biggest chance to qualify for Rio is in the 4×100 free alternate.
And I think she knows that, as she keeps focusing her training in sprint free, as I heard. Of course, she will also swim the 100 back in trials.

When it comes to NC, this Pan Am is like a deja vu to me. In 2011, a year out of Olympics, NC also swam her 100 back PB in Shanghai.

Bad Anon

Coughlin this time around will definitely have the benefit of hindsight, knowing what she needs to do differently from her 2011/2012 season. Her sprint focus I believe is an intelligent approach which removes pressure on the 100back at which she seems to excel quite naturally I’d say. I recall in 2013 when Pellegrini was focussing on backstroke and then almost won her favourite 200free at worlds, definitely looks like this “no preesure” approach works. The concern which our most knowlegable readers like Aswimfan raise is indeed genuine ; Coughlin will need 3fast 100back times to make the team let alone medal in Rio ; her ability to back up fast swims will new put on the line; will probably take 3sub min swims including a 58 in finals to medal in Rio (and qualify in Omaha). though 59.20 is the fastest by an American woman since bcn 2013 which is amazing

Bad Anon

And Coughlin backs up her 59.2 morning swim with a 59.05!!!!!!!!! That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Obviously on the big stage she will need to manage her recovery and be as knowledgable as possible on negotiating prelims and semis and be at her best in finals

Personal Best

I’m not saying it’s a definite or a foregone conclusion, but Coughlin has already swum two fast 100 backs, a 53.8 100 free in the morning and a 24.6 50 free over the span of a few days.

Out of those her 100 back times are the closest to the major players.

If nothing else, it is fun to see what she’s capable of.


Great week from one of the all time greatest 10 female swimmers


She has to go for it… So she won’t die wondering ‘what if’

Bad Anon

Interestingly 59.05 is the exact time Gemma Spofforth swam leading off team GBR at the Beijing Olympics before smoking a 58.12 wr the following year. If Coughlin would purely focus on the 100back next year she will threaten the 58sec barrier; she definitely has the front half speed, 12months is ample time to work that 2nd 50


When Coughlin went 58.96 in Beijing, she split 28.52, which is exactly what she split yesterday for 59.05 without the aid of a shiny suit for a textile best only nine hundredths off her PB. Speaking after the medley heats where she swam 59.20 she said she was still more focused on the freestyle than backstroke but it seems very likely she will be doing it next year. This is her speaking after the medley heats:


Bad Anon she make squeak under 59.0 again but no way is she threatening 58.0, she’s never had a back half it isn’t Starting now in her thirties.


She’s certainly “put down a marker” for one of the spots. She may, or may not, get below 59sec next year but I’m not sure that sub59 will be needed for the 2nd qualifier. Franklin is the only other American to go sub59 and none of the other current contenders have even made a habit of regular sub minute.

I do, however, agree with Felix that 58flat is a major “over-reach”. Her “back half” has never been her strong suit and one can’t see that somehow transforming at this point of her career.

Bad Anon

After the 27.51 American record on the proswim circuit I knew she had a great 100back in her. What we need to remember is that her focus was 50/100free and, 100back has been on the sidelines since 2012 Olympic trials. If she would really focus on 100back in the coming season she may even beat Missy to the top spot in Kazan; interestingly 59.05 would have won gold in Shanghai 2011, a silver in Barcelona 2013/ pan pacs 2014 and ofcourse gold at Pan Ams. Not sure if Franklin, Seebohm ,Nielsen, Hosszu, Baker, Wilson etc will ALL swim better than 59.05 in the SAME race assuming ofcourse they make Kazan finals. Interesting times ahead #kazan2015 #rio2016

Bad Anon

*In Omaha rather at Olympic trials


BA; no-one can predict whether Rio will be a slow race or a fast one. All we can go on are “form-lines” as to how the various contenders have tracked or are tracking in the lead-up.

Franklin & Seebohm are the only 2 regular sub 59ers with Seebohm having the recent “form on the board” with a number of sub 59s over the past year whereas we haven’t much recent LCM to go on with Franklin.

Nielsen has been a consistent sub minute performer in recent times and her tracking has been progressing towards a sub59. If someone else is going to “join the club”, she has to be seen as the most likely candidate.

Wilson had been tracking towards a sub-minute for the past year so her breaking that barrier was no surprise. She has since replicated this with other sub minutes. Her sub59 WAS a major surprise; Kazan will be informative as to whether than was an “outlier” or whether she is a legitimate contender.


It seems like Natalie read my comment where I stated that “…if she swims 100back under 59 I will eat my old Jaked suit with ketchup…”.

Perhaps I should changed that now to if she swims 100back under 59 I will eat a bottle of ketchup dressed in my old Jaked suit. Just to be on the safe side :).

Bad Anon

TommyL, and remember to post the video on you tube as you went on to declare; though 0.06 is a massive time to make up to be under 59.00 🙂

Craig Lord

Very wise, TommyL 🙂


The race itself, 4x100MR

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