Olympic swimmer and OMEGA Ambassador Natalie Coughlin continued to explore the open water by sailing with OMEGA-sponsored Emirates Team New Zealand as its “sixth man” on Friday at the America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco.
A Bay Area native, Coughlin had a front row seat for the action on the rough waters of San Francisco Bay, nearly losing her shoe within seconds of the start of the second fleet race. She and Team New Zealand regained their footing following a slow start to finish in 6th place.
Coughlin, a swimming icon and three-time Olympian, made history at the 2012 Summer Olympics, where OMEGA served as Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games for the 25th time. With her bronze medal in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay in London, Coughlin won her 12th Olympic medal, tying the record previously set by Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres as the most decorated U.S. female Olympian of all time. An adventurous spirit, Natalie’s day on the water with ETNZ comes after a recent trip to Australia to dive with great white sharks.
“I was extremely excited to be here and learn firsthand about these amazing boats and see the athletes in action,” said Coughlin. “It was incredible how the team moved around with such balance and power, while I was just trying to hang on and not fall overboard. What an experience.”
Emirates Team New Zealand continues in 5th place with 27 points in the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco Fleet Racing Championship following a fifth and sixth-place finish in Friday’s competition. They currently trail leader J.P. Morgan BAR by 16 points after 4 of 7 races. A full day of action continues Saturday with the semifinals and final of match racing competition and rounds 5 and 6 of fleet competition. San Franciscans will be treated on Sunday to the final fleet race of the weekend.
OMEGA has a longtime connection to the sea, having produced the first divers’ watch and the only wristwatch that received marine chronometer certification. The brand’s long-term partnership with Team New Zealand started with Sir Peter Blake's America's Cup campaign in 1995 and since 2001, OMEGA has honored Sir Peter's legacy with its support for Emirates Team New Zealand's America's Cup skipper Dean Barker.
Next year, the brand will again serve as the Official Timekeeper for the Emirates Team New Zealand in its upcoming America's Cup campaign in San Francisco, September 7-22, 2013.
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