Taking another step along the journey to recapture her 17-year-old self’s love of swimming, Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin is making the move to Georgia. Relocating to Athens and training under storied coach Jack Bauerle, Franklin is pursuing a degree is psychology amid her quest to kickstart her swimming career that has since cooled from her world record-setting days of London 2012.
The 22-year-old originally from Colorado had been training under Cal men’s coach Dave Durden, but wanted to reconnect with Bauerle, who coached Franklin back when she made her first national team at the age of 13.
Of the Georgia coach, Franklin told the Associated Press this week, “I’ve always adored him,” she said. “He cares about you.” (newser.com)
“I really struggled with that for a while because I looked at it from a selfish perspective,” said the athlete. “It really isn’t a selfish decision. I started thinking about the road I have ahead of me. I started looking at options, which is really big for me.”
Georgia’s stellar squad already boasts powerhouse national teamers Chase Kalisz, Melanie Margalis and Olivia Smoliga, all of whom Franklin has competed with for USA. Surrounded by teammates whom Franklin describes as ‘welcoming and accepting’, the backstroke and freestyle ace hopes to finally charge forward to Tokyo 2020 after a pair of shoulder surgeries which resulted in her missing last year’s World Championships.
“I’m kind of coming back from the bottom,” she said. “I could feel pressure because people are expecting a comeback, but I don’t care. I don’t really care what kind of pressure people are putting on me because I can’t control that.
“I want to get back to that 17-year-old who truly loved the sport,” she said. “It’s less about the hardware I bring back and more about getting back there and showing people the Missy that is so happy.”
Franklin is hitting both the pool and the weights, primarily targeting the U.S. National meet later this summer.