Missy Franklin commits to UC Berkeley

8:48 PM, Oct 20, 2012   |    comments
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She will swim for the California Golden Bears.

"I instantly felt at home there. The team dynamic is incredible," Franklin said Saturday.

Colorado's Rocky Mountains have been the backdrop for Missy's childhood. After she finishes her senior year of high school, she will move to the college campus perched on the edge of the San Francisco Bay.

Missy Franklin is arguably the most sought after collegiate athlete in the world. She opted to stay amateur so she could be eligible to swim NCAA. That meant turning down a long list of endorsement offers rumored to be worth seven figures many times over.

Swimming has never been about the money for Missy. It has been about the love of the sport and her pure desire to be part of a team.

"The friends I swim with in college will be the bridesmaids at my wedding," Franklin said. "You can't put a price on friendship. You can't put a price on being part of a team."

At this point, Franklin says she plans to swim NCAA for two years and then turn professional. She intends to continue to train with her Cal team and finish her education.

There isn't a swimming program that didn't want Franklin to be part of their team. After returning from London with four gold medals and a bronze, Missy narrowed down her list to four: University of Georgia, Texas, USC, and UC Berkeley.

She says she has great respect for each of the programs and enjoyed meeting the swimmers and coaching staffs. Ultimately, Cal was the place she felt was the best fit.

Franklin will swim for a coach she already knows well. Teri McKeever is in her 21st year at the University of California. She was the head coach of the U.S. women's swim team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

"She had such a way to motivate us and to bring the team together," Franklin said.

There was a mix of rookies and veterans on the Olympic team in London.

"She encouraged the veterans to share their experiences with us," Franklin said. "It helped us so much and made our Olympic team so close."

McKeever was the first female Olympic swimming coach and the first female coach to win an NCAA swimming title.

The Cal team has been home to many Olympic swimmers, including Dana Vollmer who was on the gold medal medley relay alongside Franklin.

Rachel Bootsma, who competed in London, and is a friend of Franklin's, swims for Cal. Natalie Coughlin also competed under McKeever.

UC Berkeley is a school with a rich swimming history and a stellar swimming future. They have now secured who swimming elite call the "best swimmer in the world."

To her home state of Colorado, Franklin is much more than the success she has accomplished in the pool. Franklin was an infusion of joy and positivity in a time when the state needed it.

The Olympics started soon after the shooting at an Aurora movie theater. She dedicated her races to the victims and to the community.

Franklin has handled the international spotlight with grace and is as grounded today as she was before there were any trophies or medals to point to.

Colorado loves Franklin and Franklin loves Colorado.

Colorado's golden girl may be moving towards the ocean next fall, but Franklin will tell you she will always be a Colorado girl at heart. Colorado is the place she chose to stay and train, despite a lot of pressure to move to a state with a more established training program. She has spent the last decade swimming with her Colorado STARS team.

Todd Schmitz has been her coach since Franklin was seven years old.

"This is my home," she said. "I always knew in my heart this is where I needed to be."

She handled the rigors of training while balancing time with her Regis Jesuit High School friends and time with her parents.

"They are my best friends," Franklin said.

It won't be long before the house in Centennial will be too quiet. DA and Dick Franklin are overjoyed for their daughter, but like any parents, the idea of an empty nest quickly brings tears to their eyes.

"We want to thank the coaches, administration, faculty and students from all the colleges who made the recruiting process so much fun for her," her parents said. "Everyone was great, but in the end she went with her heart. We are both thrilled for her."



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