Natalie Coughlin finally makes 2012 Olympic team with top-six finish in 100m

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

With a time of 54.44 and a sixth-place finish, two-time Olympian Natalie Coughlin earned a spot on Team USA in the 100m freestyle. Jessica Hardy won the race with a 53.96, followed by Missy Franklin at 54.15. The top six swimmers in the race are headed to London to represent the U.S. in the 4x100 relay.

"This isn't exactly how I expected this meet to turn out for me, but I couldn't be happier. I'm going to my third Olympic games and I'll do my best to represent my country," Coughlin said after the race to NBC.

[ Photos: U.S. Olympic swim trials ]

Barely making the team is not the position Coughlin expected to be in. After winning gold in the 100m backstroke in Athens and Beijing, Coughlin was a favorite to represent the U.S. again in her signature stroke. She missed qualifying both the 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly, and made Team USA by the skin of her teeth.

Now, she will have a chance to add a 4x100 free medal to her hardware chest, which includes three golds, four silvers and four bronze medals.

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