Denver • Missy Franklin had just been christened the darling of the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. Four events entered. Two events won. Seven Olympic events qualified.
But as many London-bound swimmers with their lifetime dreams fulfilled partied away in Omaha last Sunday night, Franklin went back to her hotel, received a few pats on the back from her family and friends, and went to bed. No red, white and blue bunting. No fish 'n' chips. No "Jolly good, Missy!"
"No, no, no, no," said her coach with the Colorado Stars, Todd Schmitz. "She's going to sleep in and then come over at 8 a.m. and swim a workout."
If a 17-year-old has unfinished business at her first Olympiad, Franklin is the one. The Centennial, Colo., resident has the best time in the world in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke. At least two of her three relay teams could be favored in London. She could medal in the 100 and 200 freestyle, too.
The potential of seven Olympic medals, a record for a U.S. woman, is possible. Anything short would still be a whopper of an Olympiad for a girl entering her senior year at Regis Jesuit High School.
Yet how she does will be determined largely by what she does in the next three weeks before her first swim in London on July 28.
"There are just some things we can fine-tune," said Schmitz, who last week was named an assistant coach on the Team USA swimming staff. "I look at her as a fine-tuned racing machine. You make a pit stop: Hey, you got to crank in that right side or whatever. That's how I look at the next three weeks. We get to just devote ourselves to 100 percent swimming."
Preparations were scheduled to start Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn., where Team USA has a weeklong training camp before going to its pre-Olympics camp in Vichy, France.
Franklin's fine-tuning will involve working on minute technical details that Team Franklin hopes will improve the first half of her races.
While Franklin, Schmitz said, "has the best closing speed in the world," she has worried fans by usually falling behind early.
In the 100 freestyle at the trials in Omaha, she was seventh after 50 meters and finished second. In the 200 freestyle, she was fifth after 25 meters and third after 100 before placing second. Even in the 100 backstroke, which she won, she was second after 50 meters.
Only in the 200 backstroke, her best event, did she not have to make up ground.
"We definitely need to work on getting out there my first 50," Franklin said. "Really, just having no worries and just not thinking and going out there and racing."