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SI: Where are you in your preparation for Beijing?
Coughlin: Exactly where I want to be. Right after the 2004 Olympics I took a bit of a break. I was training, but I wasn't exactly excited to be training. Now I've got all that motivation back.
Coughlin: There was that sense of urgency that I needed to do as many appearances as possible right after the Olympics. But so many of them were really fun. I didn't see it as pressure, but my schedule was incredibly hectic.
SI: What sport could the average American beat you in?
Coughlin: Baseball. My hand-eye coordination is not very good. You lose that when you are in the water. Or running. We used to do sprints at Cal in front of the track team. It was so embarrassing. They were like, The mermaids are here! We're not very good on land.
SI: Is it fun being the daughter of a police sergeant?
Coughlin: When I was younger it was a lot cooler--I learned how to shoot a gun. Now I go home and try to watch a Law & Order episode, and my dad won't shut up about how "that's not protocol."
SI: The one athlete you'll stop and watch every time you see him or her on TV?
Coughlin: Mike Tyson. I like the crazy athletes, the ones with tons of drama. We don't have them in swimming, which is probably a good thing.