While many experts claim to have “seen it coming”, I want to take a look back to 2015.
There were a lot of signs that Franklin was ready to win a medal in Rio.
The 2016 NCAA winner was more than three seconds back of her time.
Even more impressive is that Franklin’s skill set is not particularly great for short course swimming.
Imagine if you had a male swimmer who could do in SCY in the 200 free.
Imagine that swimmer was not particularly skilled in the start, turn, underwater swimming or breakouts. Keep in mind that Katie Ledecky won the Rio Olympics with a .73.
Much has been made about the poor performance of Missy Franklin in Rio.
Franklin fell victim to many of the same problems that other female swimmers face as they progress into college.
Those flaws in her technique (start, turns, lack of underwater dolphin, slow breakouts) were all there when Franklin was going incredible short course times.
However, she showed significant improvement in these skills during her time at Berkeley While I couldn’t find footage of the , here is a video of her going .3 the previous year: Any skilled swimming observer or coach knows that swimmers translate differently to LCM.
Her flaws are related to poor flexibility, which only gets worse as a swimmer ages.
First, while Franklin was seen as struggling at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, she still came away with two individual silver medals, and was actually faster than Katie Ledecky on the 4×200 relay when you account for the relay start advantage.
Second, Franklin entered the summer of 2015 off an astounding short course performance in the 200 freestyle, becoming the first (and so far only) woman to go under in that event in SCY.