AURORA, Colorado, January 9. LAST night, just a day after meeting one of her idols Justin Bieber, Olympic star Missy Franklin lit up the high school pool for Regis Jesuit in a dual meet against Highlands Ranch, knocking down four state qualifying marks in the process and helping her squad to victory.
After four hours of sleep the night before, getting up at 4 a.m. for her morning workout after hanging out with Bieber until midnight, Franklin put together four strong swims in the dual meet. She won the 200-yard IM in 2:02.10, while also claiming the 500-yard free in 4:57.71. She also qualified for states in the 50-yard free (23.36) and 100-yard free (51.51) as relay leadoff for Regis Jesuit's 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Notably, Franklin won the 200 IM by 20 seconds, and nearly lapped the entire field in the 500 free.
“I was so nervous before this meet,” Franklin told the Denver Post. “I have no idea why. I was literally intensely shaking in the locker room. All my teammates were like, 'What is wrong with you?'”
Franklin, who claimed four Olympic gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics to become the undisputed darling of the summer, made her first return to the high school pool after some controversy erupted in Colorado about her participation. Some felt that Franklin participating in high school took away the limelight from other swimmers who compete at all the high school meets.
“I want to make the sport better, and definitely not take away from it at all,” Franklin told the Denver Post. “And that's what made the decision so hard: the comments. That's not their fault at all. They're giving their opinion, and I totally understand that. They are concerned I take attention away. It's totally true. I feel so guilty whenever that happens, but I hope the pros outweigh the cons.”
Franklin then spent the bulk of the rest of her time after the dual meet posing for pictures with nearly everyone in attendance, including the Highlands Ranch swimmers, who were thrilled to be competing against their idol.
Among her whirlwind weekend of making headlines, Franklin also was named the amateur athlete of the year in the state of Colorado by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.