Natalie Coughlin poses for a portrait on Nov. 21, 2015 in Los Angeles.
Natalie Coughlin is just a flip turn away from being a mother of two.
“In a few months, my baby girl is getting promoted to big sister!” the 12-time Olympic medalist swimmer captioned an Instagram photo showing daughter Zennie Mae wearing a tee shirt reading “only child big sister.”
Allyson Felix, Carly Patterson and Summer Sanders were among the fellow Team USA gold medalists to quickly offer their congratulations on the post made Wednesday night.
Coughlin, one of the most decorated Olympic swimmers of all time, and husband Ethan Hall became parents to Zennie Mae in October 2018.
Although she never formally retired from the sport, the 37-year-old Coughlin has said she wasn’t training for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which have since been postponed to 2021. However, as recently as last fall she was still competing in the International Swimming League.
A native of Vallejo, California, Coughlin followed up a dominant prep career with one of the best collegiate careers of all time while at Cal, and along the way established herself as one of only three U.S. women to have won a dozen Olympic medals in swimming — an honor she shares with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres.
Coughlin made her first Olympic team in 2004, winning two gold medals, two silvers and a bronze in Athens. Four years later in Beijing, she won a gold, two silvers and three bronze medals — a record for a woman at a single Olympic Games. Then she added another bronze medal in 2012 in London. With her performances in 2004 and 2008, she became the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the 100-meter backstroke.
After missing out on the Rio Games in 2016, Coughlin stepped away from the sport to open a winery, publish a cookbook and focus on other endeavors — including motherhood. However, when the opportunity arose to compete in the ISL she was back in the pool.
“I very purposefully never retired,” she told Swimming World last year. “I knew swimming was still a big part of my life."