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Natalie Coughlin is a swimmer competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA. She was previously one of the contestants in Season 9 of the ABC ballroom competition, "Dancing with the Stars." She and her professional dance partner, Alec Mazo, were eliminated in the fifth week.

Olympic swimming gold medalist Natalie Coughlin entered the 2012 Olympic Trials needing to qualify in two events to have a chance at becoming the all-time most decorated U.S. female Olympian. She's got 11 medals, one shy of fellow swimmers Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson. The two-time defending 100m backstroke Olympic champion, Coughlin ultimately finished third in that race at Trials and will not swim it in London. Her last chance was the 100m freestyle — she placed sixth, good enough to earn her a spot on the 4x100m freestyle relay. The coaches might decide to put her on the 4x100m medley relay team, but for now the 29-year-old is only in one event — meaning she can tie, but not surpass, Torres and Thompson in the medals table.

Coughlin took an 18-month break after the Beijing Olympics, opting to get away from the water and pursue other things — like getting married, appearing on a TV show and working on her expanding amateur cooking career. Coughlin wed Ethan Hall in April 2009, and that fall she was a contestant on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." Coughlin and professional dance partner Alec Mazo were eliminated from the show in the fifth episode.

Coughlin's favorite hobby is cooking and she works with the California Dried Plum Board to develop new recipes. She's also cooked on the "Today" show and even served as a judge on "Iron Chef America." Her Twitter feed is full of Tweets about her healthy eating lifestyle, including updates on the chickens she and Hall maintain at their California home.

Coughlin returned to the water in early 2010 and by the time the big summer meets came around, she was near top form — as evidenced by her three victories and one third-place finish at the meet. But the 11-time Olympic medalist did, at one point during her hiatus, contemplate retirement. "I knew that no matter what would've happened, I would be very happy with my career," she said.

Coughlin won a medal of each color at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai: Gold in the 400m medley relay, silver in the 400m freestyle relay and bronze in the 100m backstroke.

Coughlin became the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the 100m backstroke with her victory in Beijing. She lost her world record to Kirsty Coventry in a semifinal heat but out-touched Coventry in the final, swimming 58.96 to Coventry's 59.19. Coventry swam 58.77 in her semifinal heat. Coughlin also made history as the first U.S. female swimmer to win six medals at a single Olympics. Her haul: gold in the 100m back; silver in the 4x100m free relay, 4x200m free relay and 4x100m medley; bronze in the 100m free and 200m IM.

Coughlin qualified for Beijing by winning the 100m backstroke at Olympic Trials, setting the world record in the event twice at the meet. Coughlin headed to prelims planning to take it easy in the race, but in the heat before hers, Hayley McGregory broke the world record, which Coughlin had held since 2002. At that point, Coughlin decided she wanted the record back — and she took it in the following heat. Then, in the finals, Coughlin finished in 58.97 to break the record again and become the first woman under 59 seconds in that race.

Coughlin also qualified for the 200m IM and 100m freestyle by finishing second at Trials. She had been previously guaranteed a spot on the 4x200m free relay by posting a time at an earlier meet, and Coughlin's swims in the 100m back and 100m free earned her berths in the 4x100m medley and 4x100m free relays, giving her six events to swim in Beijing.

In Athens, Coughlin became the third American woman to win five Olympic medals at one meet (the others are Shirley Babashoff and Dara Torres). She took gold in the 100m backstroke and the 4x200m freestyle relay, breaking the world record in that event. Coughlin also won silver medals in the 4x100m free relay and the 4x100m medley relay and a bronze in the 100m free. Coughlin says she didn't realize the significance of her accomplishment until months after the Games. "I was kind of just overcome with emotion," Coughlin said. "I'm just so proud to be there among such great athletes."

After winning five medals in Athens, Coughlin went on to win five medals at 2005 Worlds and again at 2007 Worlds, though not in the same events. Coughlin says five has become somewhat of a lucky number for her, though she will swim six events in Beijing.

Coughlin attended the University of California-Berkeley, where Teri McKeever coached her. She graduated in 2004 with a psychology degree but continues to train at Cal. She grew up near Berkeley in the East Bay suburb of Concord. As a collegian, she was named NCAA Swimmer of the Year in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Coughlin lost only one time in her college career, falling in her final race at the NCAA Championships. Coughlin says she had no regrets about foregoing sponsorship dollars to swim all four years.

Cooking and photography are Coughlin's favorite hobbies. Now that she has graduated college, Coughlin says she has more time to practice both. She says cooking is therapeutic and enjoys coming home after a long day of training and experimenting in the kitchen. She bought a house with a kitchen for entertaining that she shares with her husband, Ethan Hall, a former UC-Santa Barbara swimmer. Coughlin has started working with digital photography and collects her favorite photos in hardbound books that she keeps around her house.

After Athens, Coughlin said she was recognized often on the street, not just in her hometown but in New York City. People would stop her and ask for an autograph or picture or just congratulate her on her success. Coughlin said the recognition was fun for a few months, but she wasn't really sorry when it stopped. "It was fun while it lasted, but I'm glad to wasn't too long," she said. "Because it's just so weird when strangers come up to you and know you!

A teenage prodigy, Coughlin was considered an elite swimmer at an early age until one day in March 1999. She woke up with severe pain in her left shoulder, pain so bad she struggled to lift her arm above her head. Diagnosed with a torn labrum muscle, doctors told Coughlin there was no guaranteed cure. Initially, Coughlin tried to rehabilitate it with physical therapy, but that was not effective. She scheduled surgery, but before she had the procedure, she saw Michael Dillingham, a renowned orthopedist. Dillingham sent her to a rehab clinic in San Francisco that is credited with bringing future NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice back to health. Coughlin rehabbed her shoulder the next year using their program. She failed to make the Olympic team in 2000, but less than a year later, she was a world champion. Coughlin also credits the improved results to a changed mental attitude. She says she no longer is focused just on swimming and has diversified her training regimen to include running, cycling, kickboxing, yoga and weightlifting.

Only a few weeks after her birth, Coughlin took her first dip in the family's backyard pool. By the time she was 10 months old, her parents enrolled her in swimming lessons at a YMCA. By the time she was 5, Coughlin was swimming competitively. She joined the elite Concord Terrapins in California when she was 12, and no one had her pegged as a future Olympian. Her coaches liked her competitive streak and talent, but her technique needed work. After a few refinements she started to excel, and in 1998, as a 15-year-old, she became the first swimmer to qualify for the Summer Nationals in all 14 events.

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How tall is Natalie Coughlin? How old is Natalie Coughlin? Where does Natalie Coughlin live? Find out here.

Age: 34 years old
Birthday: August 23, 1982
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 139 lbs.
Full Name / Real Name: Natalie Anne Coughlin
Birthplace: Emeryville, CA
Hometown: Vallejo, CA
Current Residence: Lafayette, CA

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