Missy Franklin‘s last swim meet didn’t go as she hoped in Austin in January — zero wins and slower times in three of her four events than at the same meet four years ago.
“I definitely don’t want to come off as everything’s happy all the time,” Franklin said Wednesday ahead of an Orlando meet that runs from Thursday through Saturday. “When I come back from some of these meets, I am for sure frustrated. Austin was a perfect example.”
In Austin, Franklin was slower than her January 2012 times in the 100m freestyle (by .32), 100m backstroke (by .11) and 200m back (by 1.03 seconds). She was faster in the 200m free by .37, though four years ago she was busier in Austin, swimming seven total events versus four this year.
“I had been training so hard and been doing so well in practice and left [Austin in January] being really frustrated,” Franklin said. “Why is this not coming through? Why is this not being shown in what I’m racing? I think it’s important to let yourself feel like that because if you do push those feelings aside and pretend like they’re not there, they’re all going to come back and hit you at a time when you don’t want them to. So I let myself be frustrated. I let myself feel that, and I use that to fuel me.”
Franklin earned four gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and six at the 2013 World Championships, but at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships (where she was slowed by back spasms) and the 2015 World Championships she earned zero individual gold medals.
From June through October, she entered six meets and won zero individual events.
Though she was pleased ending the winless drought at a Minneapolis meet in November, she remains an underdog in her four individual events with the Olympics five months away.
Australian Emily Seebohm swept the backstrokes at the World Championships in August.
Katie Ledecky added the 200m freestyle title to her growing collection, and Australian sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell and Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström are tops in the 100m free, the weakest of Franklin’s quartet.
Of those rivals, only Ledecky and Sjöström raced in Austin and only Ledecky is racing in Orlando the next three days.
Franklin did not compete at the equivalent of this weekend’s meet four years ago, so it could be tougher to gauge where she’s at.