MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Winning five Olympic medals and 16 more in the world championships has made Missy Franklin one of the top swimmers in the world.
The excitable 20-year-old still appreciates winning, no matter when or how it comes.
Franklin won the 100-meter backstroke Friday night at the Arena Pro Swim Series at the University of Minnesota, ending what was just a mild, personal stretch of not finishing out front.
“Most importantly, getting a win under my belt for the first time in quite a while feels really, really good,” Franklin said.
Franklin won the 100 backstroke in 1 minute, 0.18 seconds in her only event Friday. She had not finished first in any her past five meets, her last win dating back to the NCAA Championships in March.
“I talked about it on the first day, kind of making that decision on whether or not you’re going to kind of let it go or whether you’re going to keep pushing for it,” Franklin said. “When you start getting rewarded again for all that pushing that you are doing and for all that work that you’re putting in, it’s an incredible feeling to have.”
Franklin had finished second in the 200 free on Thursday to Katie Ledecky. Franklin is scheduled to swim the 200 back and 100 free on Saturday in the final day of the Arena Pro Swim Series, the first stop of the seven-event series and the beginning of the run to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Ledecky, the 2012 Olympic champion in the 800 free, continued her impressive showing by winning the 400 freestyle, touching the wall with a pool record of 4:02.67 seconds. Ledecky had finished eighth earlier in the night in the 50 free and wasn’t pleased with her time in the 400.
“I just didn’t feel like I had much pop tonight in the 400,” Ledecky said. “I can’t complain. It was fine.”
Michael Phelps, the 18-time Olympic gold medalist who eschewed his retirement for another Olympic run, finished in 1:58.38 in the 200 butterfly to place second behind Baltimore training partner Chase Kalisz (1:58.07).
Phelps also swam in the ‘B’ final of the 100 backstroke, recording a time of 56.12 seconds. Phelps said exposing himself to two races in one day is an important step.
“I think putting my body through this pain now is going to make the end of the year so much better,” Phelps said. “As hard as it is now, and as frustrating as it is now, it’s going to make it that much better at the end. And that’s just something I have to remember and keep in the back of my mind.”
David Plummer, trying to earn his first Olympic appearance at 30 years old, won the 100 backstroke and set a pool record (52.85 seconds) in the same pool in which he competed in college, outlasting 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte, who finished fourth in 55.24.
“It’s great having a little bit of success leading into the last big push, makes you feel a little bit better about everything moving forward,” Plummer said. “For better or worse, that’s kind of the measuring stick in our sport. So, yeah, you want to be a part of that club.”
The Arena Pro Swim Series features $350,000 in prize money, with $1,000 for first place, $600 for second place and $200 for third place in each event. The overall winner for each gender for the entire seven-event series will get $10,000.
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