Our Exclusive Interview with Olympic Swimmer Natalie Coughlin

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The dailySpark recently had the opportunity to ask Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin a few questions, thanks to the California Dried Plum Board.

Natalie Coughlin, who was the most decorated female athlete of both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games, is currently training for the 2012 Summer Games, but she took some time to answer our questions:

dailySpark: How important is goal setting to your training? What is your proudest moment as an athlete?

Natalie Coughlin: Goal setting is one of the biggest components of training for the Olympics. Without goals, training has no direction. There's no one moment... I'm proud of my consistency and longevity in the sport.

dailySpark: When you have an “off” day when motivation seems to elude you, how do you push through it?

Natalie Coughlin: Knowing that I'm lucky enough to have one of the greatest jobs; being a professional athlete is a blessing.

dailySpark: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?

Natalie Coughlin: Injury

Like swimming? Be sure to read our 2009 interview with Natalie's fellow Olympian Dara Torres.

dailySpark: Do you reward yourself when you reach goals? If so, which goals (large ones or the small ones, too) and how?

Natalie Coughlin: It depends. I've bought art at a lot of various meets to remind of the different places that I've been around the world. Sometimes it's a great meal. Always different.

dailySpark: We’re big fans of dried plums in the SparkPeople office. What is your favorite way to eat them?

Natalie Coughlin: Just plain. I keep them in the frig and snack on them a couple times a day.

dailySpark: You’ve won 11 medals and now you’re training for the 2012 Olympics. What is your training schedule like these days?

Natalie Coughlin: Busy. Swimming, Pilates, running & weight training make up the majority of my training schedule.

dailySpark: What are your favorite go-to meals and snacks?

Natalie Coughlin: This changes throughout the year, depending on my mood and the season. I always have various snacks on hand for emergencies, especially when I travel: dried plums, nuts, chocolate & herbal teas are always in my purse.

dailySpark: How important is cross-training? What do you do for cross-training?

Natalie Coughlin: It's extremely important for me. Crossing training makes up at least 50% of my training. I run, do Pilates and lift weights.

Did you watch Natalie during the Olympics? What is your favorite Olympic sport?

Provided photo

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I love swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. I love seeing athletes with a genuine love for their sport and who are happy to even be at the Olympic games! Oh, and I really love close competitions :) Report
Bay Area Girl! Report
I love swimming, diving, ice skating, pairs, especially. I love the hockey. I spend two weeks in front of the TV. Love almost everything. Good blog. Thanks Report
I too love ice skating in the winter olympics and gymnastics in the summer. Report
My daughter is a swimmer so I enjoy watching swimming. Natalie is from my area so I cheered for her during the last Olympics. Report
Yes I watched the Olympics, and swimming is by far my and my family's favorite olympic sport. We are currently getting jazzed up to watch the olympic hopefuls at Ultraswim next month in Charlotte. Report
Hey Natalie Coughlin, she's Pinay, woot! Report
Yes I did, I love the ice skating & gymnastics. Thank you for sharing this blog. Report
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