Coventry breaks 16-year-old Women's Swimming world record
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- University of Texas volunteer assistant women's swimming coach Kirsty Coventry broke a 16-year-old world record -- the second-oldest women's swimming world record -- Saturday morning, Feb. 16 in the Missouri Grand Prix at the Mizzou Aquatics Center.
Coventry, who trains under Texas head women's swimming and diving coach Kim Brackin, clocked 2:06.39 in the 200-meter backstroke, breaking Krisztina Egerszegi's (Hungary) world-record mark of 2:06.62 set on Aug. 25, 1991 in Athens, Greece.
"This is the first time I've swam [finals] in the morning," Coventry told The Associated Press. "Usually, I swim a lot faster at night."
Meet organizers elected to hold the finals session in the morning, given that each finals session at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China will be held in the morning. Coventry is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the event and is one of the favorites to capture the event in Beijing.
"I am stunned and thrilled!," Brackin said. "I had no idea Kirsty was ready to swim that fast, or I would have been there! It has been our goal (to set a new world record) since going into the Japan meet (December, 2007), and Kirsty has worked every day toward it. She is stronger, more focused than ever and has refined her stroke."
Now in her second season at Texas, Brackin has trained Coventry since recruiting the 24-year-old native of Zimbabwe to Auburn University in 2001. Coventry regularly joins the Texas women's swimming team in its afternoon workouts and continues to compete for the Longhorn Aquatics club team.
"It was great to find out the news today in front of our team at our morning workout," Brackin added. "These ladies look at Kirsty as a coach and a friend! They were ecstatic and, I believe, motivated about what their swimming future holds because they train with her every day!"