Natalie Coughlin has struggled early in her Olympic trials. She'll have to turn it around soon if she expects to qualify in her signature event tonight, the 100 meter backstroke. The young phenom Missy Franklin figures to be her primary contender, and probably the favorite after her solid start.
Coughlin only managed the seventh best time in the semifinals, just putting her into the final group. The good news is Coughlin had two swims the same night (she finished seventh in the 100 meter butterfly), so she might have just been tired. But she has a stiff fight from Franklin and other youngsters like fellow Cal swimmer Rachel Bootsma.
As for other Cal swimmers, Jessica Hardy will be a contender in the 100 breaststroke semifinals, Dana Vollmer should be in the mix in the 200 meter freestyle, Elizabeth Pelton is in both the 100 meter backstroke and 200 meter IM mix, Caitlin Leverenz should be one of the favorites in the 200 IM, and Tom Shields and Will Hamilton are in the 200 meter butterfly semifinals.
Talk about Coughlin and other Cal swimmers at the California Golden Blogs.