Aug. 10, 2008
BEIJING -- University of Texas volunteer assistant women's swimming coach Kirsty Coventry became the only the second woman to eclipse the 59-second barrier in the 100-meter backstroke, as she took down Natalie Coughlin's world record in the event's semifinals Monday morning at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Coventry, a native Zimbabwean who trains in Austin under UT and Zimbabwe head women's swimming coach Kim Brackin, finished in a lightning-fast mark of 58.77 in the second semifinal heat, easily topping the previous world mark of 58.97 set by American Natalie Coughlin at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials earlier this summer.
Coventry, who took silver earlier at the Olympics in the 400m individual medley, will go for the gold in the 100m backstroke Tuesday morning in Beijing. NBC's live coverage of Tuesday's finals begins Monday at 9 p.m. Central.