Missy Franklin is quickly becoming the Lebron James of swimming. Rarely do high school athletes set the world afire as much as Missy has in the last 6 months. That fire burned a little brighter on Saturday afternoon, in front of a live, international audience on ESPN3; in front of an overflow, sell-out crowd; and with a huge boost to the sport of swimming.
Franklin, swimming for Regis Jesuit High School, topped the field at the Colorado 5A High School State Championships in the 200 free with a time of 1:43.15 to better her 1:43.98 from last night. Overall between prelims and finals, Missy cut two full seconds off of Chelsea Chenault’s old record from May.
For the time being, Dagny Knutson, who like Franklin is one of the greatest high school swimmers ever, will hold on to her overall mark of 1:42.81.
In her other individual event, the 100 back, she was able to improve off of her prelims mark, but her 52.76 was short of her own State/National Independent School Records of 52.30 set at last year’s meet. She was hampered in the 100 back given that the 25-yard course at the EPIC pool in Fort Collins was set in the shallow-end of the 50-meter pool. This kept her from taking full advantage of her underwaters, but that’s still a great result.
In her final swim, in a surprise move Regis Jesuit moved Franklin to the anchor leg of the 400 free relay, which eliminated her shot at another record. Unofficially, we’ve been told by those in attendance that she split a 47.4 (that was lost in the excitement of a team battle). For comparison, that split is faster than what Cal’s Liv Jensen, a former NCAA Champion, finished their 400 free relay in.
Franklin also led off the Regis Jesuit 200 medley relay with a split of 24.77 en route to her team taking a 2nd-place overall finish in 1:46.53.
Arizona commit Bonnie Brandon, who is one of the top-5 swimmers in this year’s senior class nation-wide, crushed her own 200 IM State Record by winning in 1:59.09. That cut exactly three seconds off of what her Colorado HS Record was coming into the meet at 2:02.09 (though she swam a 2:01 in prelims).
Brandon would crush another State Record in the 500 free with a time of 4:43.52. That cut 8 seconds off of her time from her sophomore season that stood as a previous record, though it was 5 seconds off of her personal best. In the altitude of 5,000 feet in Fort Collins, however, that’s about an even mark to her lifetime best. The 500’s are the races that are hit the hardest by altitude, in terms of a fair time comparison.
Aside from the fireworks posted by Brandon and Franklin, however, the excitement of the team battle took over at the end of the meet. The final score came down to the 400 free relay, where Bonnie Brandon and Cherry Creek had to win, and have the team from Fossil Ridge come in 3rd or lower, and they would reclaim the state title that eluded them last season.
Fossil Ridge’s Rhianna Williams had an awesome anchor leg (she held off Franklin from Regis’ 3rd-place relay), and though she couldn’t quite catch Brandon, she did touch in 2nd to give her team their first ever state championship.
This neat went down nearly-perfectly as a sample