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Missy Franklin to cap high school swim career at sold-out meet

February 08, 2013|By Dan Loumena

Missy Franklin, the teenage swimming sensation at the London Olympics last summer, will finish her storied high school career before a sold-out venue this weekend in Ft. Collins, Colo.

Since 90% of the tickets to the Class 5A state meet are allocated to schools, there was a huge demand for a small number of tickets to the 900-seat stadium.

Now, you might be thinking what many others have: Why is an Olympic medalist bothering to compete against high school athletes? The senior at Regis Jesuit High in Aurora, Colo., does have four gold medals, two in individual events and two from relays, as well as a bronze on another relay team.

“Just because a swimmer competes in the Olympics doesn't mean that she has left childhood and high school behind,” said Bert Borgmann, the assistant commissioner of the Colorado High School Athletic Assn. “Most look at this unique situation as a positive experience for the competitors. It's hard for some folks to remember that Missy is a 17-year-old who wants to do the same things that her friends do and be part of the team and have fun doing it."

Coach Eric Craven of Cherry Creek High used the LeBron James analogy.

“Look at it this way: LeBron James was the No. 1 pick in the NBA, right?" he said. "Well, I'm sure there were people complaining about that. They're like, 'Why is LeBron playing basketball in high school?' Because he wanted to represent his school, wanted to be with his teammates, wanted to represent Ohio. It's the same thing Missy is going through. She wants to represent the school. This is a good thing.”

Franklin, who will take her talents to Berkeley next year to swim for California, is known for accommodating fans, too. During high school meets she would often stay afterward and sign autographs for all those who wanted one.

In the last two years, she broke state records in the 100 and 200 freestyle events as well as the 50 free, 100 backstroke and as a member of the 400 free relay team. At the state meet, she'll be going after records in the 200 individual medley and 500 free.

Franklin, who can also compete in two relays, has been quiet on the subject of the state meet, saying recently at a Grand Prix event, "To be a part of it, I'm so happy."

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