Why Phelps called teenage female swimmer 'a stud'

Why Phelps called teenage female swimmer 'a stud'
August 15, 2011, 6:25 pm
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From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 15, 2011
If Missy Franklins mind wanders as she sits in her advanced placementliterature class this week in suburban Denver, the 16-year-old swimmer will haveplenty of summer memories to entertain her.Maybe shell remember winning three gold medals at her first worldchampionships in China. Or setting two American records in the process. Or beingpresented with a 20,000 check as the top points earner on the grand prixcircuit, beating out the likes of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.I had the best summer I could ever ask for, she said recently. Franklin emerged as a budding star of the U.S. team, someone who can swimmultiple events and anchor the pressure-packed relays even though shes barelylearned to drive.All of us are so impressed with her, 11-time Olympic medalist NatalieCoughlin said. She has the maturity to handle the pressure.Three years ago, Franklin was an unknown 13-year-old and the second-youngestswimmer at the U.S. Olympic trials, competing in three events.At next years trials, expect Franklins name to be all over the heat sheetsas she plans to qualify in the maximum 13 events. She wont swim them all; shejust loves the challenge of achieving such an audacious goal.Sounds like a female Phelps, right?Its hard to compare yourself to someone who is that unbelievable at whathe does, Franklin said, so right now Im just going to stick to swimming myraces and just being me and having fun with it.Phelps certainly noticed her in Shanghai, saying, Shes never tired, shesalways swimming fast. Shes a stud.At 6-foot-1, with big hands and size 13 feet, Franklin cuts an imposingfigure on the blocks. Shes got a catchy nicknameMissile Missybestowedby her dad four years ago. Out of the water, she has a cant-miss smilerevealing a mouth full of braces.Im trying to get them off as soon as possible, she said. Its justreally annoying.Thats about the only thing that gets the relentlessly upbeat Franklin down.She cracked up her teammates in China with her excited approach to swimming themorning prelims, her dancing ability at training camp, and her bubblypersonality.Its unbelievably refreshing to have her energy on this team, Coughlinsaid.Franklin thrived on being accepted by her teammates, whose gold-medalstandards she hopes to live up to at the London Olympics.When you have this little annoying 16-year-old thrown in the mix of allthese incredible swimmers, its really special that they would take the time totalk to me and wish me good luck and say congratulations, she said.Franklin followed up her five-medal performance at worlds by winning herfirst two national titles days after returning from China earlier this month.Her winning time of 53.63 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle was fifth-fastestin the world this year and would have earned her a bronze medal in the event inShanghai.Her club coach, Todd Schmitz, gets as much of a workout on deck as Franklindoes in the pool. He jumps up and down during her races as he urges her on.The best thing about it is it kind of feels like hes swimming the racewith you, she said, which I always love because I know that hes probablygoing to be just as tired as I am when I get out.There are times when Franklin is the one calming Schmitz down on her way tothe blocks.Sometimes she looks at me and says, Coach, its OK, he said. Shesreally good at controlling her emotions.The memories of repeated trips to the awards podium and hearing the nationalanthem will stoke Franklins motivation during the months of training that lieahead.Just thinking about that moment gets my heart pumping and my adrenalineracing, she said. If you ever have a hard set or a hard practice, its sogood to think back about how happy you were and just really help push yourselfthrough it.For now, shes focused on her junior year at Regis Jesuit, a privateCatholic high school in Aurora, Colo. Franklin didnt accept the grand prixprize money so she could retain her college eligibility.Besides AP literature, theres an AP U.Sworld history class, along with twoelectives and French that shell take online.Its going to be tough, she said. Im just going to have fun and tryto keep everything under control.She cant wait to test out her newly licensed driving skills, too. She plansto keep her car keys on the green-and-blue lanyard on which her credential hungat worlds.Franklin gave her two golds from nationals to the kids who carried thebaskets with the swimmers gear from the blocks.They loved it, so thats really sweet for me to see, she said.With Phelps headed for retirement after London, the United States will be inneed of its next big star in the pool. With her versatility, maturity andcharisma, Franklin seems more than capable of filling the bill.Shes what youre supposed to be, said Jack Bauerle, who coached theU.S. women at worlds. She makes everybody on the team a little bit better,cares about everybody else and really has an innocence about her that she justloves to race.