Two-time Olympian Missy Franklin won’t compete in major national or international competition this summer after surgeries on both of her shoulders.
The 22-year-old has been a staple of the U.S. National Team since 2010. That was the year Franklin – then 15 – qualified for the Pan Pacific Championships and eventually won a pair of silver medals at Short Course Worlds.
In 2011 and 2013, she was nearly unbeatable at the World Championships. In 2011, she won three golds and five total medals. In 2013, she set a new World Championships record for women, winning 6 gold medals. In between, she was a quadruple Olympic champ in 2012.
But Franklin has hit a run of adversity in the years since. Back spasms severely limited her production at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, though she still netted four medals. She was a bit off her usual otherworldly pace in 2015, and last summer only qualified for the Rio Olympics in two of the four events she contested in London in 2012. She would win a gold medal as a prelims swimmer on the 4×200 free relay just three years removed from being the best 200 freestyler in the world.
NBC Olympics reports that Franklin had surgery on her left shoulder in January to combat bursitis, only to return to the pool and find she needed the same surgery on her right shoulder as well. Franklin has been back in the water training, but the NBC report suggests she only started completing full practices in May. Franklin said she and coach Dave Durden decided that trying to compete this summer could rush Franklin’s recovery unnecessarily.
To get back to full health, Franklin won’t compete at Nationals this summer, which will also keep her out of the World Championships. It’ll be the first time since 2009 that Franklin isn’t a part of USA Swimming’s top-level summer international championship meet.
In the most Franklin way possible, the 11-time world champ joked about missing summer season for the first time in years. From the NBC report:
“I’m going to have some serious FOMO [fear of missing out],” Franklin said with her signature laugh. “It really hasn’t hit me yet.”
Franklin didn’t put a concrete timeline on returning to competition, saying only that she’d return “when I feel like I can give my best effort.” In the meantime, Franklin plans to continue working with USA Swimming and the USA Swimming Foundation, along with taking some time to be something she hasn’t really been since becoming an international swimming icon – normal.
“I’ve never had a normal summer before,” Franklin told NBC, saying she hopes to have “the most average 22-year-old summer I can possibly have.”