As the defending World Championships gold medalist in the 200 free, Missy Franklin‘s gigantic swim on Friday evening isn’t really a surprise.
But still, as Franklin rounds out the midway point of her NCAA swan song, her time in the 200 yard freestyle boggles the mind. Missy Franklin not only became the first woman ever under 1:40 in the 200 yard free, but she went way under with a 1:39.10. That broke her own NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Records set last season in 1:40.31.
On Friday, Franklin won the 200 yard free at the 2015 Women’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships for the second-straight year, and also broke her all-time best swim for the second-straight year.
From her first stroke, Franklin was all-out. There was no holding back in this swim, it was a full 200 yard sprint (as evidenced by her 47.74 opening 100 – which taking the turn into consideration, isn’t a whole lot slower than she’ll be in the individual 100 on Saturday).
The comparative splits between last year and this year bear it out further:
Franklin 2014: 23.49/25.22/25.82/25.78 = 1:40.31
Franklin 2014: 22.98/24.76/25.17/26.19 = 1:39.10
The difference between last year and this year was almost entirely on the front-half. That aggressiveness is what she’s always showed in long course, but last year, there was nobody to challenge her in the first 100. The second-fastest front-half split last year was a 50.0. This year, with Simone Manuel riding second, it was good race strategy for Franklin to not give her Stanford opponent even a scent of the lead, and that paid off for Franklin with the final time.
With four of the top nine finishers in this race, the Cal women seem almost inevitable to break through another barrier later in the session and become the first 800 free relay ever under 6:50.