Missy Franklin Caps Minnesota Pro Series Stop With Impressive Win in 200 Backstroke

Missy Franklin by Peter Bick

Missy Franklin clocked 2:07.24 in the 200 backstroke on the final night of the USA Swimming Pro Series stop in Minnesota, a positive sign that her work with longtime coach Todd Schmitz is moving in the right direction.

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Missy Franklin clocked 2:07.24 in the 200 backstroke on the final night of the USA Swimming Pro Series stop in Minnesota, a positive sign that her work with longtime coach Todd Schmitz is moving in the right direction.

Comments

aswimfan

It’s not only Todd Schmitz aspect, but at least equally important is that Missy is now able to live and train at altitude full time, which helps with endurance.

This is reflected in her Minneapolis swims: her 200s distance swims are higher quality than her 100s.

Yozhik

nice observation, aswimfan. Her first 50 at any races at this meet were unusually slow. I first thought that this is her new racing approch, but what you have said makes more sense to me now.

Yozhik

I was impressed with what was shown by becca mann at this meet. Very strong performance and determination to show her bests at the veriety of events. I see two Americans at the podium at 800 in Rio. I also won’t be surprised if she competes at 400im Olympic final race.

felix

I don’t. I see Belmonte and Boyle on the podium.

beachmouse

If Beisel is fully healthy, I’s say her and DiRado as the 400 IM selections for the USA.

Yozhik

Felix, as of today I will share your opinion, if of course Belmonte healed her injuries and they won’t come back as sudden as it happened this spring. But when I watched Mann’s back to back 800 fs and 200im I become confident that she WILL swim 8:17 at trials.
Beachmouse, she improved her personal best, if I’m not mistaken, by 5 seconds. I know that next 5 seconds will be much harder. But she is just 17 and is showing progress at everything she touches.
Another interesting discover for me was 13 year old Regan Smith. It looks like she wants to be the youngest Olympian in American team. Her racing at 100 and 200 back looked very good.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, not sure if your 5sec refer to Mann’s 800 but if so her best was 8:22. Here are her top 5:
8:21.77; 8:22.45 (2014, Pan Pacs); 8:24.13; 8:26.43 (2014); 8:26.64 (2014)

Yozhik

She was seeded at 400 Im with 4:42 and won this race with 4:37

Yozhik

Craig the sequence you showed doesn’t look Ledecky like. Agree. But there is a steady progress and she was probably well tapered at PP. So the progress is more significant than it may look like. Plus she got improved at other disciplines as well. That let me think that she will be under 8:20 at trials and under some circumstances may find herself at podium. Her performance is stable.

Yozhik

Aswimfan, on the second thoughts her slow starts at world cup and pro series can be a part of mental therapy of her back problem – fear of pain coming back. When she gets comfortable that she can do strong efforts at start and nothing bad happens we will see Franklin again with under 27 sec first laps at her freestyle races.

Craig Lord

She’s certainly been building nicely through her youth years and gaining a lot of experience and may well be due for a drop. On 400Im, Yozhik, her best was a 4:39, here her top 5:
4:37.04
4:39.76 Junior Pan Pacs 2012
4:39.78 2014
4:39.93 2014
4:40.26 2013

Yozhik

Thank you Craig for clarification. I saw her qualification time and decided that it was her best. That’s why I was so optimistic with my prognosis considering that drop in personal best was five seconds. But anyway, not like many at this meet she was determined to perform at her bests. I appreciate this. It was a rear occasion at 800 race when a swimmer saw Ledecky’s lags after 700 m and had on the way out faster splits. It was exciting to watch.

commonwombat

With regards to Franklin, it has always looked the case that 200 in both Free and Back has been her stronger suit and the passage of time is making this ever clearer.

This is not to say that she cannot be competent or indeed internationally competitive over 100 but the evidence is that she has “plateaued” in the 100free and her relative “weakness” on starts and underwaters is far more costly in the 100back than over the longer distance.

I feel she still remains a very sound bet in the 200back next year; all going well on the fitness and health front.

Not going to make predictions with regards to Mann. However, she’s most certainly on my “watch” list.

Adrian – very sound performance for this time of year. As a “marker”, I believe McEvoy swam a 48.41 at a minor Qld meet yesterday.

Re the womens 100free, whilst these are fair times for this time of year; the international story at this point is that their international competition are already laying down much quicker times … untapered. Again, it will be interesting to watch their form-lines going forward as against those they are currently chasing.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

As the past year has shown, Missy’s back problem didn’t really impact her freestyle start. It only impacted her back start.

Ger

Franklin’s backstroke starts have been problematic well before her back became a problem. Look at London for example. But her strength and speed have, in the past, been able to make up for this shortcoming. Interviewed after the 200 back yesterday, she was very happy with her progress, especially her feeling that she is getting stronger. So it will be interesting to follow her progress in the coming months.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRr4LjvEIpw

Yozhik

I just learned from another site that 100 back final will go same day after 200 fs semi in Rio. Is it so? Now we will see Missy in Katie’s shoes with the only difference that the final race goes after but not before. That makes it even more complicated case in my opinion. Ledecky had to put everything left in this semi and she just got lucky that other swimmers let her pass to the final where she punished them later for that mistake. In Franklin’s case she has to dose her efforts at 200 free semi to minimum required and who knows what it can be. She can easily miscalculate it. With so many ambitions at 200 free it can be a bottleneck for Franklin.

Ger

It is so Yozhik. 200F semi, then men’s 200F final and 100 back final, so not much rest in-between. The exact same scenario exists in the U.S. trials so a rehearsal would have at least taken place. But, also, recent form would suggest that she is by no means guaranteed a spot in either race, especially the 200F. Even back to her old self, she would have a tough time in the 200.

commonwombat

These computations make the W200free and W100back such tantalising races for next year’s US Trials.

Whilst KL & Missy look clear favourites for the 2 individual berths in the 200free; Schmitt looks to be tracking towards competiting for one of these positions. Whether she can, or someone else make major progressions ….. as yet we don’t know.

In the 100back, not only has the international competition taken major strides forward both in standard and depth but she is no longer the “lock” for selection we once considered her to be. Coughlin has certainly put down some strong “markers” of what she can still do and Franklin has to now rise out of a growing ruck of 59mid/high swimmers. Unless her 100 starts tracking considerably better; she’s no sure bet.

It may well be that US Trials “uncomplicates” matters for her.

Dave Nicholson

This meet is an interesting checkpoint. Also, as this is a US-focused meet, so some US-centric comments to follow (all simply my uninformed opinion of course):

I’m really excited to see Becca Mann succeed. She’s been just below the “A-list” in international swimming for so long that it’s tough for me to remember that she’s still only 17… Obviously her family has put a lot of effort into her swimming given that fact that she’s moved all over the country (Illinois, Florida and now Maryland, although they own houses in both IL and FL). Hopefully the pressure isn’t too much for someone so young. She seemed to be treading water (so to speak) for the past couple of years. Regardless, she seems to be thriving at NBAC. I don’t think she’s emerged as a medal contender in any event yet, though. I do think she’s got an ~8:15 800 in her at some point.

Regarding Franklin, I’ve been a bit surprised at how quickly many swimming fans had written her off for Rio. I think NCAA was a distraction for her swimming career. She concentrated on SCY freestyle for two years and did the team’s bidding. The fact that she then suffered a serious injury compounded matters. Regardless, in a non-Olympic year, she still dropped an American Record 1:39 200 free. Many (especially non-US) observers yawned because “that’s not real swimming” but I see that swim as a serious warning to her competitors. We’ll see what happens in Rio but I don’t think it’s wise to bet against Missy. Perhaps most importantly, Franklin’s mental toughness is not in doubt.

The other reemergence that has interested me in this meet is Dana Vollmer. She’s improving very rapidly. I’m a big fan of Vollmer, she’s a pure racer and a ferocious competitor. With Worrell and Vollmer, US women’s 100 fly is showing signs of life after years in the doldrums.

While the US women’s team looks increasingly solid, the US men’s team continues to look very unremarkable. I can see Conger and Murphy stepping up next year, after that the picking get slim distressingly quickly. Dressel? Pebley? Andrew? Bentz? Seliskar? There’s Kalisz I guess…

I think the previous generation of US men has been so dominant that it has suppressed some younger talent. 2015 Kazan was the nadir of this particular cycle and actually irritated me. I’m not sure how seriously most the (ancient, grizzled veteran in swimming terms) men’s team took that meet… As a result of the relative debacle of that meet, yet another Phelps/Lochte/Clary/Grevers/Adrian/Dwyer team (while they would probably do fine) would be a bit of a disappointment to me. While they’re all great champions, I don’t think any of those guys are going to do anything surprising (with the possible exception of Phelps). I’d really like to see someone totally unheard of emerge next year on the men’s side.

Regardless, I think we can all agree that next year’s US OT meet is likely going to the most fascinating of the past three Olympic cycles.

Yozhik

It is indeed a very feasible scenario, commonwombat. So there would be no drama in Rio. What a petty πŸ™

aswimfan

Yozhik,
I’m sure there will be plenty of drama in Rio. The Olympics is always full of drama (and fast swimming)

Yozhik

Roy, I think Ledecky cannot help it if there is some freestyle record that is not her. That is the only her reason as far as I see it now to enter 400 IM competition. That is bringing down Ye Shiwen’s phenomenal feat at freestyle leg of her world record at 400IM. It is also a good gesture of sportsmanship to help Ye to rehabilitate her name of not being unique any more who swim faster than legendary Ryan Lochte πŸ™‚

beachmouse

I think that Mann splitting her time between open water and pool probably did negatively impact her pool swimming to some degree. (But when open water is where you can make your first senior national and international teams, you’ve got to try that route) Since she missed the cut for open water in Rio, she’s focusing solely on pool for the first time since maybe age 12 and the results seem to indicate some nice progress with the narrower focus.

Yozhik

Roy, your observations are accurate and almost scientific. No questions. Thank you for killing my joke. I will try to be funnier next time πŸ™‚

commonwombat

Roy, the general rule with the top medley swimmers is that you generally need to be a champion in one stroke and international class in another two with your weakest stoke being at least competent.

Ledecky sticking her toe in the water with 400IM is probably early tentative steps/finding out ‘where she stands’ in this event with a possibility of making a more serious foray post Rio. It may well be that she wipes the 1500 off her list given there is nothing more she can achieve in that event.

In any case, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Yozhik

It can be a simple explanation why Ledecky is “wasting” her time competing at 400 IM not having any real prospects to swim at elite level. She actually doesn’t look that bad being ranked 24 this season. This rank is much better than let say her 100 free one. But 9 seconds is still long way to go with the strokes that she is not comfortable at. I think that besides the fact that she loves 400m distance in any form that is the only race where she being more or less competitive gets beaten consistently by women. That keeps her mentally fresh and awaken honing her racing skills. But most important is that that is the perfect “sandbox” to get prepared for the 200m race in Rio. If she is able to swim 4:37, by beating Ye’s split at last leg I will say that she is ready for gold at 200. One must get a huge advantage at first 100 to beat her if she is so strong on the way in. If as side effect of this program she becomes a factor at 400 IM then good for her.

Yozhik

Becca Mann – one year junior, one level next long distance swimmer has beaten Ledecky by two seconds at 400IM. What a great target for Katie.

Craig Lord

Yes, it’s a preparation tool, Yozhik (though rested you can imagine one day she may go below 4:35)

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