When Missy Franklin ruled the swimming pool


Missy Franklin won four Olympic gold medals and nine world titles, all before moving into college. In 2013, she was undoubtedly the world’s premier swimmer, male or female.

The 2012 London Games, where Franklin swept the backstrokes and won two more relay golds, tell just part of her story. Franklin highlights NBCSN’s Olympic Games Week programming on Friday night. A full TV schedule is here.

Franklin, then a rising Colorado high school senior, came to those Olympics as one of three U.S. swimming superstars. The men had the Michael PhelpsRyan Lochte duel.

The women had a bubbly, worm-dancing phenom already profiled by the nation’s major media outlets. They were drawn to the story of the girl who gave up millions by choosing NCAA swimming over turning professional. Franklin won three golds at the 2011 Worlds, then showed off her driver’s license in a national TV interview.

In London, Franklin became the first U.S. woman to swim in seven events at an Olympics. She joined Amy Van Dyken as the only American women to earn four golds at a single Games across all sports. She took five medals overall and nearly made it six, missing bronze in the 200m freestyle by .01.

It was hard to believe Franklin could top it. But that’s what she did at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona. Phelps was retired. Lochte was scaling back. Katie Ledecky was still on the rise. Franklin was in her own tier.

She swam a Phelpsian eight events at those worlds, withdrawing after the heats of the 50m backstroke. Franklin earned six golds and missed a seventh medal by .05 in the 100m free. She matched 1980s East German Kristin Otto for the most golds for a woman at an Olympics or a worlds.

There was more to come.

Franklin, after suffering back spasms at the biggest meet of 2014, came back for her sophomore season at Cal and shattered her American record in the 200-yard freestyle by 1.21 seconds at the last meet of her college career. It remains the oldest individual NCAA record on the books. Nobody, not even Ledecky, has come within seven tenths of breaking it.

After Franklin turned professional in 2015, she began suffering shoulder pain. It affected her before and through the Rio Olympics, where she earned one medal (gold as a prelim relay swimmer). She underwent surgeries in 2017 and, after being told she needed another operation, chose retirement in 2018.

Ledecky and Simone Manuel took the baton as the leading U.S. women. As dominant as they have been, they are strictly freestyle swimmers. Franklin, with her mastery of the backstroke and the freestyle, had her own unique repertoire that might not be replicated at that success level for many years.

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MORE: NBCSN Olympic Games Week TV schedule

2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Turning 22 during the tournament, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.

No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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