Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Women's 100 metre backstroke
|Women's 100 metre backstroke|
at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
|Venue||Beijing National Aquatics Center|
|Date||August 10, 2008 (heats)|
August 11, 2008(semifinals)
August 12, 2008 (final)
|Competitors||49 from 38 nations|
|Winning time||58.96 AM|
U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin set a lifetime best and an American record of 58.96 to defend her title in the event. Zimbabwe's new world record holder Kirsty Coventry added a second silver to her hardware from the 400 m individual medley two days earlier, in a time of 59.19. Coming from fifth place in the turn, Margaret Hoelzer continued her impressive form in the shorter backstroke to pick up a bronze in 59.34, handing the entire medal haul for Team USA in the pool.
Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth narrowly missed the podium by a twenty-fifth of a second (0.04), posting a European record of 59.38 for a fourth-place finish. Russia's Anastasia Zuyeva finished fifth in a close race at 59.40, and was followed in the sixth spot by Japan's Reiko Nakamura in 59.72. France's Laure Manaudou (1:00.10), bronze medalist in Athens four years earlier, and Japanese Hanae Ito (1:00.18) rounded out the finale.
Earlier in the prelims, Zuyeva, Nakamura, and Coventry scratched out Coughlin's existing Olympic record, as they went under a time of 59.68 to lead all seeded heats. The following morning, in the semifinals, Coventry blitzed the field on the final lap to set a new world record of 58.77, breaking Coughlin's mark by two-tenths of a second (0.20).
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Natalie Coughlin (USA)||58.97||Omaha, United States||1 July 2008|
|Olympic record||Natalie Coughlin (USA)||59.68||Athens, Greece||21 August 2004|
The following new world and Olympic records were set during this competition.
|August 10||Heat 5||Anastasia Zuyeva||Russia||59.61||OR|
|August 10||Heat 6||Reiko Nakamura||Japan||59.36||OR|
|August 10||Heat 7||Kirsty Coventry||Zimbabwe||59.00||OR|
|August 11||Semifinal 2||Kirsty Coventry||Zimbabwe||58.77||WR, OR|
|1||5||Natalie Coughlin||United States||59.43||Q|
|3||3||Gemma Spofforth||Great Britain||59.79||Q|
|5||7||Elizabeth Simmonds||Great Britain||1:00.39|
|1||4||Kirsty Coventry||Zimbabwe||58.77||Q, WR|
|3||6||Margaret Hoelzer||United States||59.84||Q|
|8||8||Elizabeth Coster||New Zealand||1:01.45|
|5||Natalie Coughlin||United States||58.96||AM|
|7||Margaret Hoelzer||United States||59.34|
|4||2||Gemma Spofforth||Great Britain||59.38||EU|
- "Olympic Swimming Schedule". USA Today. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Lohn, John (11 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Natalie Coughlin Breaks 59, Wins 100 Back Gold in American Record". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "Natalie Coughlin wins gold, Margaret Hoelzer wins bronze in 100m backstroke". Los Angeles Times. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- Lohn, John (10 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Olympic Record Times Three, Kirsty Coventry Leads Women's 100 Back Prelims". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Lohn, John (10 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe Grabs 100 Back World Record in Semis". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Coventry sets world record in women's 100 backstroke". Los Angeles Times. 10 August 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- Borzi, Pat (1 July 2008). "Natalie Coughlin again lowers backstroke record". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2013.