Is it fair to hop back in a high school pool after winning five Olympic medals? Probably not.
Still, that’s the question facing 17-year-old Missy Franklin. She recently signed up to swim at Cal next year with Olympic coach Teri McKeever, but Missy said the decision about whether or not to continue her high school career is more stressful.
“If I had anyone who swims high school come up to me and tell me they don’t want me to swim, I would absolutely not swim,” Franklin told the AP. “But everyone who I’ve talked to has been so supportive of it. It’s so hard when I have so many people that are really wanting me to do it and so supportive, and I have other people who are saying it’s not fair. ‘Why would you do this to other girls?’”
Missy, who took home female athlete of the year and shared relay of the year honors with London teammates Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt at Monday night’s Golden Goggles in New York, told the USA Today that she has “no gut feeling on this” and has turned to her parents for help.
The swimming phenom said she’ll decide as soon as possible, but it’s really no decision at all: she should swim. Yes, she’ll likely clobber anyone she gets in the pool with, but she’s a high schooler, arguably a kid, and she shouldn’t have the joy of competing with her friends taken away because she excels at what she does. She shouldn’t be made to feel bad for her talents or the awards she’s worked so hard to achieve.
And who knows, going against one of the world’s top swimmers might help them get better, too.
What do you think?