Missy Franklin‘s goals are the same at the Olympic Trials as they were four years ago, in that she wants to hit specific times in races, but she acknowledges this situation is a little different.
“My times were a little bit slower than where I would have liked them to be [so far in 2016],” Franklin said Saturday, one day before the meet begins in Omaha.
But the times are not that different from four years ago.
Add up Franklin’s fastest swims this year in her four primary events, the 100m and 200m backstrokes and freestyles, and they are a combined .44 of a second slower than in the same period in 2012.
However, this year she ranks second, third, fifth and ninth in the U.S. in those four events. Given the top two finishers at Trials make the Olympic team per individual event, there would be reason for doubt.
Not that the four-time 2012 Olympic gold medalist is feeling it.
“We know how it works, and I think we did it pretty well last time,” Franklin said of her Trials taper strategy with coach Todd Schmitz, whom she left for two seasons at the University of California but returned to last spring. “So we know that I’m going to be ready when I need to be ready, and that’s right now.”
Franklin repeated Friday being “incredibly frustrated” at the 2015 World Championships, where she came away with one silver and one bronze medal in her four individual races after taking three golds in the same events at the 2013 Worlds.
But she also remembered that the main goal was to get to and through the 2015 Worlds without any of the back problems that slowed her at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.
Mission accomplished, even though she went winless in six meets from June through October, and again at another meet in January.
New threats have emerged (or re-emerged) in Franklin’s events, namely Katie Ledecky‘s takeover of the 200m freestyle and the comeback of 2012 Olympic 200m freestyle champion Allison Schmitt. That 200m free final may be the most anticipated three-swimmers-for-two-spots showdown of the meet.
Not that Franklin feels pressured. She’s relaxed, having spent part of Friday occupied by a gift from her parents — a coloring book.
“I plan on setting a new bar at this meet,” Franklin said. “That’s kind of almost unrelated to what I did in 2012, because everything is so different.”Follow @nzaccardi