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By Annie Reed

       At just thirteen years of age, Missy Franklin stood in Omaha, Nebraska as the youngest swimmer to qualify for the Olympic Trials. From that point on, she had an aching desire to reach for the rings and make the next Olympic team.

       Four years later, Missy found herself watching the American flag rise slowly above the podium and giving her best gold medal wave to the crowd in London. The high school senior made more than a huge splash this summer. As a seventeen year old, Franklin hauled home four gold medals and set an individual world record in the 200 Backstroke.

       As one might expect, being a high school student and an Olympic swimmer is no easy feat.  Long hours of training can easily interfere with any activities, let alone a full class schedule. Franklin tells Knightlife she couldn’t have done it with out her friends and community standing behind her.

       “All the teachers and my friends at Regis Jesuit High School are so supportive. My classmates take class notes for me when I’m away and my teachers are always there to give me extra help when I get back.”

       Missy also maintains an inseparable relationship with her parents. They are there for her when the occasional obstacle arises and when she has her great triumphs as well.

       With that in mind, Missy went to London with these people in her heart. She wanted to swim well, not only for herself and her country; she wanted to swim for her community that has stood behind her since she was the timid Olympic Trial qualifier four years ago,

       “I am a Colorado girl and the support from my state and city has been overwhelming. When I went to London, I wanted to make them proud.”

        Aside from being a high school student, Missy has many other qualities that set her apart from the competition. Even though she had entered the world stage in swimming, Missy decided to stay with her childhood coach.

       “I never once considered leaving my coach. He is so talented and I’ve continually improved,” Missy remarks. “I love Colorado. My friends, team and school are so important to me. Even more important, my parents and I are very close and I would never consider leaving them to train with a different coach.”

       Although London was an amazing experience, Missy has made many other great memories following the Olympics. Having visited the Today Show, The Tonight Show, the U.S. Open and the VMA’s, she has been busy. However Missy tells Knightlife the most rewarding experience, for her, has been taking part in Stand It up to cancer.

       All of these events have brought her fame, but Missy is still herself. She eagerly registered for school a mere twelve hours after she landed in the US. She works to stay grounded and remain the person she has always been.

       “I’m the same old Missy. I’m much more than a swimmer. I’m a daughter, a friend, a student, a
nd so much more,” she says, “I’ve enjoyed being back with my friends and doing regular 17 year old activities again!”
In an effort to be the person she wants to be, Missy has declined several million dollar offers she has waiting for her if she were to become a professional swimmer. Missy believes nothing can replace the feel of being on a team, therefore she has chosen to remain an amateur for the moment.
“At this time I still want to experience college swimming. Although many people say that swimming is an individual sport, to me it is all about the team. High school swimming was one of the best experiences of my life and I know college swimming will be as well.”
Building off of the fact that high school swimming was one of the greatest experiences of Missy’s life, she wishes the student athletes of Lahser to feel the same way she does. Her advice:
“Have fun no matter what you are involved in. Enjoy the moment. Take responsibility and accountability for your own sport.”

Quick Facts:

  1. Missy’s favorite Olympic moment: Standing on the podium with “three wonderful women” after setting a new world record in the 400 Medley Relay.
  2. Her dad gave her the nickname “Missy the Missile”.
  3. Missy competed in seven events in London, more than any other woman swimmer in Olympic history.
  4. Missy will be making a cameo in the upcoming movie The Internship starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
  5. Missy is looking forward to taking fun electives such as Forensic Science and Advanced Dance.

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