BERKELEY, California, October 4. ALONG with finally getting a chance to sign autographs for a home crowd, California freshman Missy Franklin led the Golden Bears to an impressive 164-89 triumph over Washington State tonight at the Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Cal freshmen got it done tonight with six victories.
All-around superstar swimmer Missy Franklin took care of her business early and often. She opened up the night with a blistering 48.09 anchor as Kelly Naze, Melissa Bates and Alicia Grima joined with her for a 3:45.31 to win the 400-yard medley relay. Franklin then returned to crush the 100 back in 54.37, nearly a second ahead of senior teammate Stephanie Au (55.23), before nearly touching first in the 400-yard IM in 4:13.83, although her swim was exhibitioned behind freshman teammate Celina Li’s winning 4:13.42. Then, in another exhibition swim, Franklin anchored the B team in the 200 free relay with a 23.17. That was the fastest split of the final event, beating the 23.18 teammate Farida Osman used to anchor Kaylin Bing, Bates and Cindy Tran to victory with a 1:34.84.
“Obviously, Missy’s credentials speak for themselves. It’s a really talented group with a lot of international experience and national experience,” California head coach Teri McKeever said. “That’s the type of young woman that we’re having access to. I think there’s really something special about being a freshman and it being your first opportunity to wear your Cal suit and your Cal cap on the Cal campus. You only get one first time. I’m really excited that a lot of them had good days that they will remember for a long time.”
Afterwards, the entire team signed autographs for the fans in attendance.
“I remember the first time I ever swam in this pool,” Franklin said. “That was the first time I’ve been able to sign Missy with Bears underneath. It’s so surreal and I know it sounds so unbelievably corny, but seriously, it’s a dream come true. This has been the best decision I have ever made to be part of this team and to swim collegiately. What Teri does with the team is absolutely incredible. We’re not just a team, we’re a family. It’s incredible the relationships I’ve been able to form and relationships I can see forming. And I know they’re going to keep getting stronger throughout the season.”
The rest of the stunning international freshman class for California also took care of business. Marina Garcia, an Olympic finalist in her own right, won the 200 breast in 2:17.51 and also took home the 1000 free in 10:02.53. Egyptian Olympian Farida Osman checked in with wins in the 50 free (23.56) and 100 fly (55.07).
Meanwhile, the first wave of this amazing run of recruiting classes also snared wins of its own as Rachel Bootsma (200 fly: 2:04.91) and Elizabeth Pelton (200 free: 1:49.25) won events of their own.
Washington State was outgunned from the start, which is a consequence of the Pacific 12 Conference moving to a schedule that requires swim teams to schedule conference opponents. However, the squad definitely had a chance of a lifetime to swim against some of the best swimmers in the world tonight.
Elise Locke, a freshman herself, seemed to be the least fazed with some of the strongest swims for WSU. She took second in the 200 fly in 2:05.07 and sixth in the 200 free in 1:54.25. She also posted a 4:37.25 in the 400-yard IM to officially stand second in the event, even though California exhibitioned three other swimmers ahead of her.