On Day 1 of Winter Nationals, young Missy Franklin won’t be swimming her 50 free and 200 IM, which might temporarily send a small wave of panic throughout the swimming community. But have no fear, her absence will only be temporary (and she will, in fact, be at the meet on Thursday, though not competing).
Word out of the Franklin camp is that some school committments kept her from flying out with the rest of the Colorado Stars team this morning, and instead she will take an evening flight tonight with her parents. She will arrive late this evening in Atlanta before joining her teammates in the morning.
The context of all of this is that Franklin is still a high school student, which is easy to forget given all that she has accomplished in the pool, and is doing her best to work through a regular school schedule. For elite high school swimmers, there is not a more stressful time of year than December, where in addition to her swimming schedules (Nationals, Duel in the Pool), Franklin has to worry about finals. She also has to work around certain community service programs that her school has in place.
It was agreed by Franklin and her coaches that it would be best for her to simply take a pass on her day 1 events, which are not her primaries anyways, so that she could use the middle part of the day to get some schoolwork done (rather than worry about recovering for finals). She will pop by the Georgia Tech Aquatice Center at the end of prelims to get a quick swim in (she’ll be unrested for this meet), and then in the evening will be on deck for finals, but won’t begin racing until Friday and Saturday.