Melissa Franklin has set her sights high. Her mother, who is her greatest influence, started her on swimming at the age of five. If her mother had had it completely her way ‘Missy’ Franklin would have been swimming for Canada.
Born in Pasadena, California in 1995, her parents are originally from Canada. Missy’s mother suggested she represent Canada to ease the pressure on her making the U.S. national team because of its strong field.
However, patriotic Missy Franklin did not give the idea any thought. Her confidence and her talent paid off.
In her first long course world championship in Shanghai last year she won three gold, one silver, and one bronze. She won the 200m back-stroke gold in 2:05.10, and was part of the gold-winning U.S. relay teams in the 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley events.
At the 2011 short course World Cup, she set her first world record timing 2:00.03, thus becoming the first woman to break an individual world record since the high-tech bodysuits were banned in January 2010.
Franklin qualified from the U.S. Olympic trials in 100 and 200 freestyle and 100 and 200 backstroke events and she would also be part of the U.S. teams in the two freestyle relays.
She should start favourite in the 200m backstroke event in London. Her winning time of 2:06.12 in the U.S. trials is the No. 1 timing in the world this year.
Anastasia Zueva of Russia, who could be one of her closest challengers in London, has a time of 2:06.59 while Australian Belinda Hocking who claimed the silver behind Franklin in Shanghai clocked 2:06.68 at her country’s trials.
And even as all eyes will be trained on superstars such as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin will be glad to avoid the limelight, till she steps on to the podium.
That in itself will be nothing new for the 6 ft 1in American girl. She makes full use of her height and her size 13 feet and podium finishes has been a norm.
For her performance in Shanghai, she won the Female Athlete of the Year, Female Race of the Year (200m backstroke), and the Relay Performance of the Year (4X100m medley) awards. She was also named the best female swimmer for 2011 by the FINA Aquatic World Magazine.
When the swimmers take off in the Olympics on July 28, watch out for Melissa Jeanette Franklin.
She's out to make a big splash.