FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Missy Franklin has certainly left her mark on Colorado high school swimming.
Franklin won all four of the events she competed in at the State Championship, including setting a new national record in the 200 individual medley (1:56.85). In doing so, she led Regis Jesuit High School to the 5A State Championship.
The decision to swim at Regis Jesuit, after winning four Olympic medals in London, was a major debate that caught the 17 year old in its crosshairs. After today, it was all worth it.
"I don't know what to say, I'm totally speechless. I had a lot of trouble deciding whether or not to swim high school this year," Franklin said after the emotional meet, and an overall whirlwind year.
"Some people would come up to me and ask me, Why are you doing this? And other people would come up to me and say, Thank you so much for doing this. The whole time it's been this back and forth, and now I finally realize why I did it. Just being with my girls in that last moment and crying and knowing it would be the last time I was going to swim with all of them and have a Regis cap on my head. That's why I did it."
Franklin will move on from high school, already an Olympian, an American swimming icon, but, most importantly to her, a state champion.
"I couldn't think of a better way," emphasized Franklin. "That's always every team's goal, but even if we didn't being a part of the team would have been the perfect way to end it."
Franklin's exclamation point to her senior season was what she expected. There is nobody that demands more of the swimmer than herself, and it showed. She was definitively dominant; winning the 500 freestyle race by six seconds and the 200 individual medley by another three.
"I think that the only pressure I get is the one that I put on myself. I got pretty nervous before swimming my races tonight," Missy said, who has already swam on the biggest stage, and excelled. "I remember standing there as an anchor on the 4 by 100 relay at the end and just feel my heart beat in my throat and adrenaline going through my whole body thinking 'This is why I do this,' knowing that I'm going to dive in, not for myself but for my girls too."
Tears welled in her eyes as Franklin and her teammates awaited their coronation as Colorado's best. Her name fills the record books, but her true legacy will never be what is shown on a stopwatch. It will be that of the impact she had on the swimming community and the girls she swam against.
"A couple [of] girls, especially from girls I've never met before, never talked to before, that would come up to me and say, 'Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for swimming. It means so much that you are here,'" remembers Franklin.
Thank you Missy, Colorado swimming is truly grateful for your presence.
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