Franklin looking to slam dunk U.S. trials

Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:41pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Missy Franklin was selected this week in the Harlem Globetrotters' 10th annual celebrity player draft, yet she comes into the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials that begin on Sunday as anything but a slam dunk for Rio Games gold.

With a resume that includes four gold medals and a bronze from the 2012 London Games followed by six more golds at the 2013 world championships, Franklin had looked as unbeatable in the pool as the barnstorming Globetrotters do on the hardwood.

But Franklin's golden glow has dimmed over the last two years.

She hurt her back at the Pan Pacific championships in 2014 and did not win an individual gold medal at last year's world championships in Russia.

There has also been a change of coaches and scenery, Franklin leaving the University of California, Berkeley and returning home to Colorado last year and reuniting with Todd Schmitz, who started coaching her when she was a seven-year-old and turned her into a record smashing gold medal machine.

Reigning Olympic champion in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke, Franklin will also be bidding for spots in the 100m and 200m freestyle at the U.S. trials that begin on Sunday and run through July 3 but she insists she is focused more on her times than the Olympics.


Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin of the U.S speaks at a news conference at an event to unveil the new line of Speedo LZR Racer X swim suits in the Manhattan borough of New York City, December 15, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar