Franklin, Adrian win 100 free finals at national championships
Four Olympic gold medalists qualified for both the men's and women's 100-meter freestyle finals Tuesday at the U.S. national championships in Indianapolis.
The morning's prelims got off to a rousing start with Natalie Coughlin, Missy Franklin and Jessica Hardy all reaching the women's 100 free final. University of Georgia swimmer Shannon Vreeland, the fourth Olympic gold medalist in the field, posted the fastest time in prelims at 54.24 seconds. Coughlin was next at 54.33, Franklin was fifth at 54.55.
Two Olympic gold medalists, Allison Schmitt and Dana Vollmer, will swim in the consolation final along with Amanda Weir, the American record-holder in the event.
Four of the men's 100 free qualifiers also own Olympic gold - Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin, Matt Grevers and Ryan Lochte. Adrian had the best time at 48.54.
In Tuesday night's finals, Adrian and Franklin won the two biggest races, the men's and women's 100-meter freestyle.
Adrian beat Jimmy Feigen to the wall by more than half a second, finishing in 48.54 seconds to take the race that featured seven Olympic gold medalists.
Franklin, the women's star, charged past the three leaders on the second 50 meters, then had to hold off another Olympic gold medalist, Shannon Vreeland, and 16-year-old Simone Manuel to set a new meet record in 53.43. It was the second fastest time in the world this year.
Other Olympians who won Tuesday were Cammile Adams in the 200 butterfly, Connor Jaeger in the men's 1,500 free and Katie Ledecky in the women's 800 free.
Four-time gold medalist Missy Franklin, 18, spoke to Eyewitness Sports on Monday.
"I'm so excited. I've been swimming at this pool for years and years and it's one of my favorite pools. I absolutely love it," she said.
She has good reason to love Indianapolis. She broke one of her first national records at the Nat "when I was 11 or 12, I can't remember!"
Now 18, Franklin says it's hard to put into words how her life has changed since winning the gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
"I've been able to meet the most incredible people and do the most incredible things. It's just been a dream come true," she said.
Her most memorable experience doesn't have anything to do with the Olympics, though.
Swimming in high school her senior year "was so huge for me and being a part of my team and then winning the state championship was just a perfect, perfect way to end my senior year and it was my last time swimming with all those girls. It was amazing!"
Up next? College! "It's all becoming so real," Franklin said, adding that she's already picked out her classes for next fall. "We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond for the registry!"
She's aiming for the Worlds team and eventually going pro in 2015. That could include another Olympics.