Throughout her respected career in swimming, she has earned 12 medals for Team USA, three of which were gold. “Those were over a period of several years. I just took it one event at a time. Looking back, it is a pretty amazing accomplishment, but it took a really long time, so I never really enjoyed the fullness of that accomplishment at once.”
When asked to reflect upon that last decade, she said, “It’s hard to say. It’s been a long career. To have the Olympic medals and the World Championship medals, and a bunch of other international medals, it is something that I am really proud of. More than anything, I’m proud of how versatile I was and how consistent I was for so many years.”
As a competitive swimmer, she was motivated by the fact that she was a professional athlete. “I knew how lucky I was to call myself that. Not only to be healthy enough to be a professional athlete, but to be someone who was successful at it, and actually earning a living doing it. That alone was motivating for me. Now I take the same principles that I used in swimming, being persistent and tenacious, and I use them in other projects I have going on right now.”
Coughlin discusses key to longevity in swimming, and offers advice for young hopefuls
On the key to longevity in swimming, Coughlin said, “Nutrition was definitely a part of my longevity. Take care of how I fueled my body was really important. Maintaining a healthy weight was very important. Figuring out what the proper weight was for me, and just staying at that weight. Also, taking care of your body and listening to your body. Seeing a physical therapist and making sure I’m getting enough sleep and making sure I’m drinking enough water. Basically, taking the best care of your body as possible.”
For young, aspiring swimmers, Coughlin’s advice is as follows: “Trust in the process. There are going to be challenges along the way, and those are very important learning opportunities. If you approach the challenge with the right attitude, you can turn it into a learning experience, and ultimately, make yourself a better athlete.”
Digital transformation of aquatics
On the impact of technology on competitive swimming, she said, “I am actually working with a technology company, Aspiricx, and we are creating technologies that will allow you to use your iPhone or iPad to give you real-time analytics of your swimming. You can swim a race and it will give you analytics of changes in speed, and bio-mechanical analysis. It includes artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision. It is actually something very exciting and very topical. We are progressing very quickly. I wish I had this during my swimming career. It is a fun business venture for myself, and I’m giving back to the sport of swimming.”
Coughlin talks about new cookbook and winery
Regarding her plans for the future, she said, “I am in the middle of editing my cookbook, which is really exciting. It is going to be out in the spring of 2019. I wrote the manuscript last summer, and I’ve been going back and forth with my publisher. I am very fortunate that they liked my idea. It is important to eat healthy, and it is important to indulge from time to time. I didn’t want to write a cookbook that is 100 percent healthy recipes. That would be boring and a little bit dishonest. My approach was this is what I ate while I was competing for the Olympics, it includes very healthy recipes and some indulgent ones. They can all fit within a healthy diet.”
Coughlin continued, “I started a winery with a friend and wine-maker. That is called Gaderian Wines. The word ‘gaderian’ is an old English word for gather. The idea is that you gather around the table to enjoy food and wine, so that the inspiration for the name. The 2017 vintage will be our first vintage.”
For more information on Gaderian Wines, check out its official website.
As a cook, she revealed that her favorite app is Paprika Recipe Manager. “Paprika is a way to store all of my recipes on all of my devices. You can click on all the recipes for the week, and it will make the grocery list for you. That way, you don’t forget any ingredients, and you can organize all of the meals for the week, which is really exciting,” she said. “For my day-to-day, I use my Apple Watch and I love it! That’s the new fun toy I enjoy.”
For her fans, she concluded, “Thank you to all of my fans! I feel I am very fortunate to have such great fans that have not only supported me in my swimming career, but all of my other endeavors. I am very, very thankful for them.”
Coughlin defined the word success simply as “Never giving up.” “Setting a very lofty goal and constantly going towards that goal,” she said.