Missy Franklin Won’t Swim US Nationals After Double Shoulder Surgery

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.”

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5 years ago

There’s no reason she can’t come back if she wants to Brett Stewart in the NRL in Aus had multiple knee recos and still made it back, as the Prince of Brookvale no less. Surgery like that (I’ve had my own knee done) is more mental than physical. Personally I hope she does come back so that she can leave the sport on the terms she would like.

5 years ago

I am getting conflicting messages from the article. Is she staying out of the water entirely the rest of summer or is she still training and just not competing. Such a cryptic article i think maybe she is just avoiding the whole retirement topic with this press release. It smells like a retirement to me

Reply to  Taa
5 years ago

Choosing Cal and its coach led directly to injurious training and weightlifting. Franklin would have had a very different career with a different college coach, one who was focused on what was best for the student swimmer instead of what was best for the coach’s career and bonuses. Franklin could have turned pro and gone to Cal, not to swim but for a degree. Well, coaches say all the right things during recruitment, then when enrolled, coaches turn sprinters into injured long distance swimmers, for team wins and points, etc. Anyway, Franklin’s latest book states how her college coach iced her out on deck during practices and caused the entire team stressful drama. Didn’t have to happen. Money and swimming… Read more »

Aussie crawl
5 years ago

A back injury in Australia in 2014 plus this….
6-9 months out of the water …..
Is it the end of her great career?
Lets see how this pans out.
Have a great rehab Missy. 🙂

Reply to  Aussie crawl
5 years ago

Can you explain me why nobody was talking about her career threatening injuries when she became the college swimmer of the year in 2015 and swam this ridiculously fast 1:39 in March 2015. Has it given her a break for 6 months of college season and then immediately got back dramatically affecting her performance at following in few months WC and then OG. Everything is extraordinary about Missy. She is really something.

5 years ago

Wishing Missy a full recovery from her shoulder injuries. Never a fun time dealing with injuries, and she’s had a dirge of them to deal with in recent years.

Best of luck to her, whatever she does decide to do going forward.

5 years ago

Missy Franklin 2018 US Nationals Super early predictions
100 FREE:
54.40 7th

200 FREE:
1:55.78 2nd

100 BACK:
59.59 4th

200 BACK:
2:06.78 1st

Reply to  Fremdsprachen
5 years ago

Should your predictions of her abilities be correct we will never see her in competition again. Why? Because it will hurt her business. “Gracious in Defeat”: that is her brand now. And it looks that she makes good profit of it. Who needs this exhausting training and not to be the first one when she already doesn’t have competition of being #1 American Sweetheart that feeds her very well.
Read carefully what she has said recently:”I’ll always love swimming but what it means changes with you as you grow”. I think it means that there would be no 2018 Nationals for her. Her love has already changed and with such new mentality there would be no Missy Franklin swimmer… Read more »

5 years ago

Breaking news.
How it is a news at all. What is so special with her downfall?
The year 2012. Olympic Games in London. Five young and very young girls won gold medals with outstanding results including all-suits and textile suits world records.
Ye Shiwen (16), Missy Franklin(17), Rute Meilutyte (15), Allison Schmitt (22), Katie Ledecky (15)
Only one of these five managed to win another individual Olympic gold medal in four years. Others were so down that none of them haven’t made finals and were out of contention at all.
So 80% of young stars have Missy Franklin’s path and there is no national tragedy or breaking news of one more missed competition.
The… Read more »

5 years ago

The right decision for her I am sure. She has been badly overtrained by her coaches, the fruit of which we saw last year in Rio. It now falls to Durden to bring her body back from the brink.

5 years ago

Her downfall is really sad but the good news for her is that she has time on her side. Get rid of these problems at the start of an Olympic cycle is the correct move. Probably should’ve been done earlier looking at how last season played out. Problems were visible already 2015 but I guess the World Champs somewhat masked it because it wasn’t a complete failure.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Joe
5 years ago

“Downfall”? Sounds quite ominous, which is not how I think almost anyone would describe Missy or her struggles with injuries.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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