Missy Franklin Will Train Under Dave Durden at Cal

A month ago, Missy Franklin told Good Morning America that she would be returning to the University of California, Berkeley to resume her studies. She did not specify, however, where she would be continuing her training. Beginning last week, however, she was back on campus and training in the post-graduate, professional group led by Cal men’s head coach Dave Durden.

Franklin is the second high profile Cal women’s swimmer to choose Durden in Berkeley in recent times. Natalie Coughlin made the move in 2014 after over a decade swimming for Cal women’s head coach Teri McKeever. The move seemed to pay off in 2015 for Coughlin, who posted a lifetime best in the 50 free at that year’s Pan American Games.

2016 was another stormy for Coughlin, as she failed to make the Olympic team and added time across the board. She ultimately withdrew from the 50 free, her final race, at the Olympic Trials citing that she did not believe it would go well.

At age 34 Coughlin will likely face incessant questions about whether she is retiring. To date she has not signaled that she is stopping her swimming career, but where she will continue her training remains uncertain.

Durden is coming off a year in which his swimmers took seven medals in Rio, including three from current collegiate swimmer Ryan Murphy. He was recently named ASCA Coach of the Year for his accomplishments.

Franklin swam at Cal for two years as a member of the Women’s team under McKeever. In both years she set NCAA records, including a 1:39.10 performance in the 200 freestyle in 2015 that was more than three seconds faster than the 2016 winning time.

Internationally, Franklin struggled in her first year at Cal, coming away with only an individual bronze outside of relay medals at the 2014 Pan-Pacs. She rebounded in 2015, winning a silver in the 200 backstroke and bronze in the 200 freestyle, as well as posting the top American leg on the winning 4×200 free relay.

Franklin left Cal to begin her professional career in 2015, returning home to train with her club coach Todd Schmitz in the leadup to the Rio Olympics. Franklin failed to medal or swim on a night relay for the Americans in Rio.

Franklin is now banking that Durden can be the coach to help her turn her career around as she begins a new Olympic quad.

Both Durden and a representative for Franklin declined to give comment on the situation.

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NONA
5 years ago

BOOM

Haggis-Basher
5 years ago

Why Durden?

TNM
Reply to  Haggis-Basher
5 years ago

If academics is a key factor, it would make sense to return to Cal and finish her studies. Since it didn’t work out well with Teri, the only other option is Durden, who is a great coach. Why not give him a shot?

Swammerjammer
Reply to  TNM
5 years ago

Yes. Durden can help her with the technical aspects that slowed her down. Smart choice of coach. There will be much less drama and trauma away from the Cal women’s team.

Cmon
Reply to  Haggis-Basher
5 years ago

Why not? If she wants to attend Berkeley why not swim for the successful side? Maybe she happened to watch Murphy and pebley?

Purple Rain 99
Reply to  Haggis-Basher
5 years ago

I think this is what you’re getting at…Teri is a brilliant coach but she does not welcome back dissenters.

dmswim
Reply to  Purple Rain 99
5 years ago

I don’t know the inside story, but I wouldn’t consider Missy going back to Colorado dissension. From the time she signed with Cal, the plan was for her to go pro after 2 years and possibly return to Colorado.

Ger
5 years ago

Great move.

Naya Missy
5 years ago

Interesting decision.

ShawnT
5 years ago

Training with Durden didn’t work for Natalie. Not to say it wont for Missy, but im surprised Durden would take on the task. It’s not like he needs to build his resume. Will she actually train during/with the college mens practice? I wonder what Teri thinks?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

Whatchu mean, didn’t work? I don’t know exactly how long she’s been swimming with that group, but I do know she’s been swimming pretty great over the last couple years. (You can say her taper meets haven’t been great, sure. But those are some small sample sizes.)

ShawnT
Reply to  Steve Nolan
5 years ago

Those in season best times sure did Natalie a lot of good. Of course im talking about her best times under Durden vs Teri. Yes her 50 free was faster but she never swam that event shaved or tapered with Teri. My point is that compared to swimming with Teri (or Ray before Teri), Natalie’s success under Durden was marginal at best.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

Yes, swimming fast is bad. Glad we settled that, finally. (Those times were good enough to have made the Olympic team, she just didn’t swim ’em at the right time. Sh*t happens.)

She’s getting older and still competing at a very high level. Could she be as good or better under another coach? Idk, maybe? Maybe Michael Phelps would be better under Teri McKeever, there’s no way to ever answer those kinds of questions. (Unless your question was “Would Phelps be faster swimming for me, Steve Nolan?” Because the answer to that is no.).

To Natalie, she thinks swimming with Coach Durden is working. Really all that matters.

Dan
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

Natalie swam pretty well in 2015. She was 33 at trials, which is on the older side for a swimmer. I don’t think she is the example to say that Dave Durden can’t coach women. He has done exceptionally well with men.

I hope this is the change Missy needs to get back to the top. Different swimmers need different things, and I have Dave can give Missy what she needs in a coach.

ShawnT
Reply to  Dan
5 years ago

Again, my point isnt that Durden cant coach Missy, its that Natalie was winning Olympic medals and broke world records under Teri, yet struggled to make teams (worlds and olympics to name a few) let alone medals under Durden.

Lauren Neidigh
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

She was also a lot younger with Teri

ShawnT
Reply to  Lauren Neidigh
5 years ago

See Anthony Ervin and Dara Torres.

dmswim
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

Both Torres and Ervin took time off in the middle of their careers. I think this helped with their longevity. Natalie has been going non-stop for decades. That wears on your body.

JohnJ
Reply to  dmswim
5 years ago

Natalie was 25 or 26 when she started with Durden. I dont buy the age excuse (being too old to swim as fast as she used to) for a second.

Hawaii Kai
Reply to  JohnJ
5 years ago

Natalie had just turned 30 when she switched to Durden’s group in the Fall of 2012. Her birth year is 1982.

ShawnT
Reply to  dmswim
5 years ago

Who is to say that the break didn’t hurt Ervin and Torres? Maybe they would have been faster had they stayed in the water or had shorter breaks?

The fact remains that Natalie swam faster with Teri despite her age, breaks, in season times, or any other excuse you want throw out.

Calbearfan
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

I think after your 4th post saying the same thing we get where you stand on this. Go Missy! Go Bears!

Michael
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

Terry ruined Missy

Bobby Jones
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

Body chemistry is quite different for different people—i.e. we all age differently. Just because Example A did it at 35 doesn’t mean Example B can do the same.

Michael
Reply to  ShawnT
5 years ago

Torres an Ervin were already elite sprinters. Coughlin switched to 50 while being coached by Durden

CoachGB
5 years ago

His there anywhere where Missy has given a straight forward interview with some straight questions to her what she thinks or any injuries or change of attitude on her part. We hid the athletes thoughts so much and have constant conjecture being thrown around. In the sport so often we hide or go around the issue. Would be nice to hear from the “horses mouth”.

Prickle
Reply to  CoachGB
5 years ago

She is a professional swimmer now. That means that the swimming is the business, the way to make her living. She would say only what business requires. Don’t expect anything else.

The Grand Inquisitor
Reply to  CoachGB
5 years ago

This comment sparked an idea – a documentary I would be interested in seeing produced would be a sequel to “Touch the Wall.” It would pick up Franklin’s story with the 2014 Pan Pacs and follow her journey all the way to 2020. I’d be good for a few bucks to Kickstarter for that – anyone else game? Working title could be “Touch the Wall Again” – has the potential to be much more interesting than the original.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  The Grand Inquisitor
5 years ago

“Touch the Wall: A Couple Seconds Later”

Ellie
5 years ago

Someday, I’d love to hear a candid Q&A with Natalie and Missy about the coaching on the women’s side of the Cal program.

Bob
Reply to  Ellie
5 years ago

What’s to know? Teri obviously isn’t getting the job done with them and they needed a change. Doesn’t mean she’s a bad coach. Teri does well with some and not with others… just like every coach in the country. She has too much talent to get everyone to swim fast in my opinion, but I’m not there and don’t’ know the back stories.

swamfan
Reply to  Bob
5 years ago

Teri “got the job done” with Natalie for years, but later in her career Natalie said she wanted a change. I agree with Bob in that just because it doesn’t work out with all swimmers doesn’t mean Terri is a bad coach. She has a unique coaching style that some swimmers thrive under and others not so much. Teri and Missy might not have been a great match but I think Missy’s extremely disappointing 2016 indicates that Missy’s lackluster performances since 2013 can’t just be blamed on Terri McKeever.

Spectatorn
Reply to  swamfan
5 years ago

Agree. Missy seems to never let on how much the back injury affects her since Pan Pac 2014 – it was late 2015 or early 2016 that she admitted to still needing PT and happy for days when she “forgot” about the injury. Training style asides, getting over injury psychologically and back to high level training (without rushing too quickly) is hard. Hope that the pressure of Olympic is over now, she can take her time to recover, finish school and be able to train hard again (if she still wants to).

IRO
Reply to  Ellie
5 years ago

Me too. The narrative on McKeever has totally flipped in the past few years, and all we get are rumors and half-statements by commenters on SwimSwam.

Swammerjammer
Reply to  IRO
5 years ago

A fractured neck during training is no rumor. Injured backs are no rumor. Sprinters being forced to swim long distance and do long distance dry land is not a rumor. Several swimmers leaving the team as soon as the season ended to go train for Oly Trials with better coaches is no rumor. Degrading verbal abuse is no rumor. Swimmers do not speak up because they do not want to lose scholarships and team resources and suffer increased abuse.

Sven
Reply to  Swammerjammer
5 years ago

The injuries are documented, yes, as they are on every college team, so those are not rumors. However, though the conviction you speak with is admirable, if swimmers have not spoken up and there is no documentation, then your claims of degrading verbal abuse are in fact rumors.

I’m not taking anyone’s side or calling anyone a liar. For all I know, you are correct. I have no dog in this fight, but any piece of unverified information being circulated is a rumor. If your claims are not just rumors, then back them up.

KGMan
Reply to  Swammerjammer
5 years ago

Links to credible news source verifying any of the above? Otherwise, I think, your claims are, by definition, rumor.

IRO
Reply to  Swammerjammer
5 years ago

This is exactly what I mean – this is a half-comment. The fractured neck is terrible, of course, but injuries happen at every program. I don’t know anything about her technique coaching sprinters. Can you be more specific? And degrading verbal abuse – where is this happening, and to whom? Your description is the complete opposite of the McKeever we were talking about circa 2009-2010, when all these top recruits started flocking to her. Back then she was the coach that the injured/burned out went to and rebounded.

swamfan
Reply to  Swammerjammer
5 years ago

A) McLaughlin got the neck injury body surfing in Hawaii. (Maybe it was part of a workout, maybe it wasn’t.) It was a freak accident and I don’t think you can directly blame it on Mckeever.

B) Perhaps Franklin’s back injury was a result of her training.

C) “Sprinters being forced to swim long distances” examples???

D) “Several swimmers leaving the team as soon as the season was over to train for olympic trials.” Baker went home to train for about a month before olympic trials. This does not seem strange to me. Maybe she wanted to be home for a month instead of on campus where she could have home cooked meals (we know she has Crohn’s disease)… Read more »

Dan
Reply to  IRO
5 years ago

Teri didn’t seem to work for Missy (though Missy did better under her than a lot of people seem to imply). Teri also just put a few ladies on the US Olympic team. She obviously has success with some.

weirdo
Reply to  Dan
5 years ago

she put on Dana…that is it! kathleen went home with Marsh cause she know that was best for her.

dmswim
Reply to  weirdo
5 years ago

Baker was home for a matter of weeks before Trials. She was with Teri for all of the serious training up leading up to Trials.

dmswim
Reply to  weirdo
5 years ago

Baker was home for a matter of weeks before Trials. She was with Teri for all of the serious training up leading up to Trials.

Sven
Reply to  weirdo
5 years ago

Weirdo is 100000% correct here. Baker spent over nine months with McKeever (maybe more, did she swim for SwimMAC or Cal in summer ’15?), then like four weeks with Marsh before tapering for Trials and it was all thanks to him!

McKeever clearly deserves no credit.

In all seriousness, McKeever might not be the perfect coach for Missy (although Missy put up some pretty damn fast SCY times under her), but Todd Schmitz couldn’t get the job done this time around either. If Dave Marsh can get all the credit for putting Baker on the Olympic team in only six weeks, then Schmitz should have been able to undo the damage in a year and a half, right?

Or maybe… Read more »

Caliswimgrl
Reply to  Sven
5 years ago

Right on, Sven. Several facts: Missy has stated she loves Cal and her teammates there. She’s returning to Cal to continue her studies. She wants to continue to compete because she says she loves swimming. She has had a terribly painful back injury that she has kept private and dealt with it with immense courage. Coach Durden is the closest great coach and a new alternative to Coach McKeever. To join the speculation: It’s likely MIssy had a great opportunity to talk to and work with Coach Durden at the Olympic training camps and in Rio, so it’s a natural transition to swim with his pro team at Cal while she continues her studies. Missy’s faith is very important to… Read more »

Spectatorn
Reply to  IRO
5 years ago

it is a very tough job to take over a very successful athlete. Missy was the golden child going to Cal. IF for any reason she did not perform at that 2011 and 2012 level, the new coach would get blame no matter whether it was coaching related issue or not. It is especially tough for coach Teri in this case when Missy openly discussed her plan of going pro after 2 years of NCAA. That had set the expectation for every one to expect post-NCAA Missy would be at least as good as, if not better than, 2012.

I hope we don’t do the same to KL and coach Meehan.

Ervin
5 years ago

Theres really no pro team on the Cal women’s side right now anyway. Even before it was just Vollmer and Leverenz. Vollmer talked about having another baby and idk what Leverenz’s situation is. Maybe this had something to do with it. Theres a decent sized group of pros on the mens side

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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