China’s Zhao Jing won the women’s 100 meters backstroke world title yesterday, overhauling Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin in the process.
American Natalie Coughlin (Filipina), the two-times Olympic champion for the 100 backstroke, had turned for home under world record pace but was swum down by the 20-year-old Zhang and Russia’s Anastasia Zueva.
The 28-year-old Coughlin, who has now won 17 world championships medals in total, six of them gold, faded over the last 15 meters to take the bronze in 59.15.
“It’s my tendency to go out quick. The last 10 meters I felt very good,” said Coughlin, who took 18 months off from competitive swimming after the Beijing Olympics.
“It’s my best time since my break from Beijing and I am satisfied with today’s performance. Definitely I can go faster and next year will be quite promising.”