- Won NCAA Swimmer of the Year at Cal consecutively from 2001 to 2003.
- Became the first American woman since 1966 to hold the 100m backstroke world record and was the first woman to go under one minute in the event.
- Became the third American woman to win five swimming medals at one Olympic Games, in 2004 in Athens. Swam the lead-off leg in the 4x200m freestyle final in which the U.S. broke a 17-year-old world record, the oldest on the books at the time.
- Served as a studio host for MSNBC's 2006 Winter Olympic coverage.
- In 2006, co-authored a book about her career titled Golden Girl: How Natalie Coughlin Fought Back, Challenged Conventional Wisdom, and Became America's Olympic Champion with Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated.
- Won six medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the most any female American athlete has won in one Olympics.
- Competed in season 9 of Dancing with the Stars, paired with Alec Mazo.
- Posed in Sports Illustrated's 2012 Swimsuit Issue.
- Won her twelfth Olympic medal, a bronze, as part of the 4x100m free relay, at the 2012 Olympics in London.
- Was one of the cover models on ESPN The Magazine's The Body Issue in 2015.
- Zennie Coughlin — Mother
- James Coughlin — Father
- Ethan Hall — Husband
- Megan Coughlin — Sister
- Attended Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, California, United States; University of California, Berkeley, California, United States (BA in Psychology, 2005)