by BETHANY LU Staff Writer
Eighteen-year-old swimming Olympian Missy Franklin came in first place in the 200 yard freestyle event and beat the 200 free field world record at the 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Minneapolis on March 20, 2014.
Franklin had an astounding time of one minute and 40.21 seconds, beating previous record holder 2013 World Champion Megan Romano, who had a time of 1:41.21. Franklin also pushed California to first place by finishing the 200-yard leg with a team-best of 1:40.08.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with that right now. That was an incredible relay to be a part of, there’s no better feeling coming in behind as an anchor. To come back and win, that one was really great for our team. I think it definitely lifted some spirits,” says Franklin.
Franklin also took on the exhausting, yet important task of swimming the 500 yards-free for her team, but lost to Georgia’s Brittney MacLean with a time of 4:32.66.
“The 200 is a bit more my style,” says Franklin.
Franklin is not only known for her recent wins, but past championships at the Olympics and the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Championships, also known as the 2013 World Aquatics Championships.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London, Franklin, representing the US team, received four gold medals in the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke in which she set a world record of 2:04.06, 4×200m freestyle, and 4×100m medley. She also took home the bronze medal for the 4×100m freestyle.
“She was recently introduced as a swimmer, but it seems like she has been an Olympic star all her life,” says freshman Kaitlyn Guo.
In addition, Franklin won six gold medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships held in Barcelona, Spain. She was qualified to compete in seven events – 4 individuals and 3 relays – and received gold in the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 4×100 m freestyle, 4×200 freestyle, and the 4×100m medley.
Currently, Franklin holds nine gold medals from the 2013 and 2011 FINA Championships, more than any other female competitor.
“It’s awesome,” says Franklin. “Anytime I get to travel with my team, we have so much fun. We do the greatest things.”
Because of her victories, Franklin was chosen for the 2014 Sportswoman of the Year award by the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.
As an Olympian, she trains 20-30 hours in the pool every week in addition to daily weight room workouts. There are sacrifices needed to be made, but Franklin says that she tries not to stress herself out and have fun.
“I think [competitive swimmers] would most certainly have to be extremely determined and devoted to the sport, and understand the amount of work in order to become an Olympic swimmer,” says freshman Anurva Saste.
Franklin is currently training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
How many medals do you think she will take home this time?