Natalie Coughlin dives in again

Natalie Coughlin

Natalie Coughlin, Cal swimming great (Cal Athletics photo)

Many people might have stopped paying attention to Cal swimming legend Natalie Coughlin after she failed to qualify for the U.S. Olympics team in any individual event in 2012. But that would have been a mistake.

The woman ESPN calls “one of history’s greatest female swimmers” is hard at work and competing in the Pan American Games, which started today in Toronto. Since switching coaches and recommitting herself to her training — still at Berkeley’s pools — the 12-time Olympic medalist has managed personal-best times in two events since the 2012 summer games, including setting a U.S. record in the 50-meter backstroke, according to a new ESPN profile and video. But it hasn’t all been roses for the 33-year old.

Part of her training regimen involves raising a farm’s worth of produce, plus chickens, in her Lafayette backyard, once she’s logged her daily hours time in the pool.

“Her hobby nourishes her soul, but it also feeds her body and her palpable need to be in charge of her own ecosystem,” writes Bonnie Ford in the ESPN feature.

For the full story, go to ESPN and read Ford’s piece and watch the video.