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Franklin headlines youth movement at U.S. nationals

June 29, 2013
Missy Franklin celebrates her fourth title at the U.S. nationals.(Photo: Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Missy Franklin celebrates her fourth title at the U.S. nationals.(Photo: Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Missy Franklin‘s nationals are over. Yet it is stupefying to realize her international swimming career is merely beginning.

The 18-year-old from Centennial, Colo., won her fourth title of the week Friday night at the Natatorium at IUPUI. She clocked 58.67 seconds — fastest in the world this year — in the 100-meter backstroke at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

The time is a U.S. Open and meet record, and amazingly close to the American record of 58.33 that earned her Olympic gold last year. She won three other London golds, and with five more in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, she would exceed Jenny Thompson‘s eight for the most Olympic golds ever by a female swimmer.

She would be 21 then. Maybe Michael Phelps should get back in the water to prevent her from catching his record of 18 Olympic golds.

That’s so far away. The main goal, she said, is to get faster before the World Championships, which open July 28 in Barcelona. She said her coach, Todd Schmitz, has already cautioned he will be “all over her” in training.

Previously, she set meet records in the 100 freestyle (53.43) and 200 backstroke (2:05.68) and won the 200 freestyle (1:55.56). She swam under the American record in the 50 backstroke, but finished second to future Cal-Berkeley teammate Rachel Bootsma.

Franklin pulled out of Saturday’s 200 individual medley, but she could win as many as eight world medals, including relays. The five-day nationals conclude Saturday with preliminaries at 9 a.m. ET and finals at 6 p.m.

Franklin said, “I absolutely love Indy,” a venue in which she set her first age-group record. But as long as there is a pool, she loves it about anywhere.

“No matter what time of year it is, what year it is, if I get in the pool for practice, I’m going to work as hard as I can,” she said, “because I know that’s an opportunity I’ve been given to get better. And not everyone has been given that opportunity. So that’s a blessing in itself.”

The theme of these nationals has been youth.

Katie Ledecky, 16, of Bethesda, Md., won the women’s 400 freestyle in 4:04.05, ranking third in the world this year. She previously won the 800 free — an event in which she took London gold — and was second to Franklin in the 200 free.

Kevin Cordes, 19, of Naperville, Ill., won the men’s 100 breaststroke in 59.99, making him the third person in the world this year under 60 seconds.

Ryan Murphy, 17, of Jacksonville, Fla., was edged out of a worlds spot in the 100 backstroke despite lowering his age-group record to 53.38. David Plummer beat Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers, 53.10 to 53.25.

usatoday

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