COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Cal swimmer Natalie Coughlin was named the female November 2001 Athlete and Team of the Month Award winner for athletic accomplishments during the month by the United States Olympic Committee on Wednesday.
Coughlin nearly swept the women’s race. The Cal sophomore had a memorable month, winning nine events in five days from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2. Coughlin set two world records, two American records and six meet records while participating in the FINA World Cup in East Meadow, N.Y., and the Texas Invite in Austin, Texas.
Swimming in the World Cup, Coughlin broke world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke (short course meters), earning her first world records ever. Her 200-meter back record was 1.5 seconds faster than the previous mark, and her 100-meter world record was 1.4 seconds faster than the old record. She followed those performances with an American and U.S. Open record in the 50-meter fly. On the first day of the Texas Invite, Coughlin posted the second-fastest time ever in the 100-yard fly, setting a new meet record; she also won the 50-yard free in 22.51, making her the 10th-fastest in history in the event.
Topping the voting in the men’s race was 2001 U.S. National champion Sean Townsend. Representing USA Gymnastics, Townsend earned a World Championship gold medal on the parallel bars, claiming the first gold medal for the U.S. men’s team since 1979.