Missy Franklin is wasting no time in jumpstarting her professional swimming career. A day after wrapping up her college career with three individual NCAA titles and a team championship, Franklin has signed with an agent known for his work with Olympic athletes.
While in college, Franklin was bound by the NCAA’s amateurism rules, and couldn’t sign with an agent, endorse products, or earn money from the sport apart from small reimbursements for expenses allowed by the NCAA. But Franklin, who swam as an amateur through age 20 including two college seasons, is about to finally cash in on some hard-earned profits from one of the best youth careers in swimming history.
According to the Associated Press, Franklin has selected Mark Ervin, an agent with WME-IMG. Ervin has not worked with swimmers before, but does represent Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, pro tennis player Maria Sharapova and NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and previously worked with Olympic snowboarder Shaun White.
Franklin said her parents did the agent-hunting, allowing her to focus on her studies and her college swimming career, which wrapped up with NCAA Swimmer of the Meet honors Saturday night.
With distance swimmer Katie Ledecky saving her amateur status to eventually swim for Stanford, Franklin is far and away the top young talent moving into the professional realm this year, so don’t be surprised if we see some more career decisions from the multi-time Olympic champ in the next few months, including possible suit/apparel sponsorships.
Franklin is still deciding where she will continue her training for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She says she’ll meet with Cal coach Teri McKeever in about a week to discuss training plans as she deliberates between heading back to her home club, the Colorado Stars, or staying in Berkeley to train with Cal’s well-known professional group.
See the IMG press release below:
Beverly Hills – WME | IMG has signed four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin for worldwide marketing representation.
Franklin, 19, turned professional today following the 2015 NCAA Championships where she led the University of California, Berkeley (Cal) women’s swimming team to a NCAA women’s team championship. Franklin also captured three individual NCAA titles at the meet and set an American record in the 200-yard freestyle.
Recognized for her bright smile and engaging personality, Franklin became a household name during her debut at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Then 17, she won gold medals in the 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter backstroke (setting the world record), 4×200-meter free relay and 4×100-meter medley relay (also a world record). She also won a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter free relay.
“I think what WME and IMG have built across the last year is really dynamic and I feel like it’s the right fit for me as I turn professional,” Franklin said. “My focus in the pool is going to be pushing myself day in and day out to be my best self and achieve my goals and I know that my new team at WME | IMG will help me use the platform I have been given to make a difference.”
She followed her Olympic success by winning six gold medals at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, becoming the most-decorated female swimmer in history at a single World Championships. Franklin will look to add to her international medal count at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Sochi, Russia and will compete in next year’s U.S Olympic Team Trials – Swimming where she will look to qualify for the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Franklin was raised in Centennial, Colorado and began swimming competitively at the age of five. A member of the U.S. National Swim Team, Franklin competed for two years at Cal before turning professional.
Franklin’s team will be led by Mark Ervin, Senior Vice President, IMG Clients.