Note: The following is part of a series of posts from students at Swansea University, located in Wales. The students have visiting Colorado State University and learning about America and its media.
Last week USA Swimming gained a new talent in Missy Franklin at the Olympic trails that took place in Omaha, Neb. from June 25 to July 2. The 17 year old qualified for a record 7 events for the London 2012 Olympics. Todd Schmitz, who has been coaching Missy since she was 7, was aware of the possibility of achieving a record amount of swims for a female, but did not put this pressure on her, stating that “I am a swim nerd through and through, but we never had that conversation.” Indeed, although she already had set her first World Record in October at the 2011 Swimming World Cup, she exceeded all expectations at the US Olympic trials.
As a close follower of the swimming scene, I was convinced that no swimmer would be able to approach Michael Phelps’ phenomenal 8 gold medals, at least not anytime soon. Yet at only 17 she will have the opportunity this summer to come close to his record and might be able to beat it during her further career. This summer Missy however already has the chance to make her mark on Olympic swimming by winning 7 medals, being the first female swimmer to do so. The current record is held by Kristen Otto from East Germany with 6 gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
From a swimmer’s perspective, Missy Franklin could boost the status of swimming, which already improved greatly with Michael Phelps’ historic swims during the 2004 and 2008 Olympics in Athens and Beijing respectively. This is important as beside from being a sport, swimming is a necessary skill to increase safety in and near water and Olympians help create awareness of this issue.
Interview with Missy Franklin after qualifying for her 7th Olympic race: