“I just didn’t feel right walking away from it.” After London, Coventry moved home to Zimbabwe.
At that point, she had been living in the United States for 11 years as she trained at Auburn and later Texas.
At her first in Sydney when she was just 16 years old, she became the first Zimbabwean swimmer to qualify for the semifinals at an Olympics, and at her second in Athens, she won the first Olympic swimming medals for her country, one of each color—including gold in the 200 back.
In Beijing, she won a trio of silver medals in the 400 IM, 100 back and 200 IM—going under the existing world record in all three races—before finally breaking through with a gold medal and world record of her own in the 200 back.
Results will be released in the "End of the Year" story on Saturday, Dec.