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Veterans Coughlin, Peirsol help U.S. swim team save face in Beijing

Updated: August 12, 2008, 5:10 PM ET
By Pat Forde | ESPN.com

BEIJING -- Natalie Coughlin, in her own words, cried "like a baby." Aaron Peirsol gave an aw-shucks smile.

Two gold-medal winners experiencing two medal ceremonies 20 minutes apart. Two completely different reactions, from two fairly polar personalities.

But the bottom line is the same: When USA Swimming acutely needed someone other than Michael Phelps or his miraculous relay mates to step up and perform like an Olympian, two backstrokers had America's back. In this case, ...

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