Coughlin wins gold in women’s 100 backstroke

Natalie Coughlin of the United States wins gold in the 100 backstroke, becoming the first woman to ever defend her title in the event.
Natalie Coughlin of the United States wins gold in the 100 backstroke, becoming the first woman to ever defend her title in the event.NBC Sports
/ Source: The Associated Press

Natalie Coughlin of the United States has won the Olympic 100-meter backstroke, becoming the first woman to ever defend her title in the event.

Coughlin finished in 58.96 seconds, briefly going under world-record pace at the 50.

World record-holder Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe earned the silver in 59.19. American Margaret Hoelzer took the bronze in 59.34. Six of the eight finalists swam under 1 minute.

Coughlin earned her second medal of the Beijing Games, having won a silver in the 400 freestyle relay. Coventry was the silver medalist in the 400 individual medley.