Missy Franklin will not swim at the U.S. Championships in two weeks, ruling her out of the world championships in July, as she works her way back from winter shoulder surgeries.
Franklin, a four-time 2012 Olympic champion, said she made the decision after talking with her coach, Dave Durden, at the University of California.
“If I had a deadline to try and get better by, we were really worried that that would rush things and that could really impact the quality of the therapy and the work that we were trying to do getting back,” Franklin said Monday. “I think both of us were very concerned with quality and wanting to make sure that we’re doing the best that we can right now.”
Franklin will not swim in major summer competition at the senior level for the first time since 2009, when she was 14 years old.
“I’m going to have some serious FOMO [fear of missing out],” Franklin said with her signature laugh. “It really hasn’t hit me yet.”
Franklin, 22, underwent left shoulder surgery in January due to bursitis. Soon after getting back in the water, she needed right shoulder surgery for the same issue.
Franklin said she felt shoulder pain as far back as last spring, according to the Denver Post, before she struggled at the Olympic Trials and the Rio Games. But she didn’t know if the shoulders were a cause for last summer’s results.
Franklin returned to swimming a few weeks after the second surgery and slowly upped her training load. She completed a full practice for the first time last month at Cal, where she has about three semesters’ worth of classes left to graduate. Her shoulders feel “awesome” now.
“I want these shoulders to last me for a very long time,” Franklin said. “I really don’t want to rush anything. It’s been so nice for me to get back in the pool at my own pace.
“If this is the step back I need to take in order to take three forward, then that’s what I’m willing to do.”
Franklin plans to return to racing, “when I feel like I can give my best effort,” but she doesn’t know when.
In the interim, she has more time to devote to SafeSpash Swim Schools and the USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make a Splash” programs.
“Potentially giving [children] a skill that will help save their live is one of the most important things I’ll ever do,” Franklin said.
Another goal is to “have the most average 22-year-old summer I can possibly have,” she said. “I’ve never had a normal summer before.”
It was this summer in the previous Olympic cycle when Franklin became the biggest star in the sport.
She won a female-record six gold medals at the 2013 World Championships before enrolling in college.
“That’s something that really stays with me on the days that recovery’s really hard and those doubts creep into your mind and you wonder if you’ll ever get to that point again,” she said. “It’s those tough days when I kind of think back to the things that I accomplished that I never really thought I would be able to do. I can sort of reflect on that and be proud of those things and know that I really am capable of doing whatever it is that I set my mind to.”
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