Despite swimming in the preliminaries and helping the U.S. 4x100-meter freestyle relay team qualify for the gold medal round, 11-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin has been dropped from the group, along with Amanda Weir, replacing the pair with Jessica Hardy and teenager Missy Franklin for the finals.
If the U.S. team makes the podium, Coughlin will be up there with them to collect her 12th medal, since she swam in the preliminaries. The 12 medals would tie Coughlin with Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson as the most of any female Olympian.
Swimming with Hardy and Franklin will be Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt. The 29-year-old Coughlin doesn't compete in any other Olympic events, meaning she's likely swam her last race. She's had, obviously, one of the more spectacular careers in Olympic history, becoming the first female swimmer to win six medals in a single Olympics, and hopefully she can cap it off with a medal, albeit won vicariously.
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