BARCELONA –With the chance to collect medals in eight events at the World Championships, Missy Franklin eschewed swimming in the 50-meter backstroke semifinals on Wednesday night to focus on the 200-meter freestyle, an event she did not win a medal in at the 2012 London Olympics. That decision paid off, as California’s incoming freshman won the 200-freestyle final for her third gold medal at the Palau Sai
nt Jordi. Swimming for the United States, Franklin held off 200-free world-record holder Federica Pellegrini of Italy to claim gold, 1:54.81-1:55.
Franklin had won gold in her first two events – the 4x100-meter freestyle relay and 100-meter backstroke. But she pulled out of the 50-14.
“If I had made finals (in the 50 back), it would have also been before the (4x200-free) relay tomorrow night,” Franklin said. “So with it being right before this and right before the relay, we decided the risks outweighed the rewards for that race. It was fun to swim it this morning, but I think I’m happy with the decision to scratch.”backstroke semis – which would have finished some 20 minutes before the 200 free – to focus on the elusive 200-free. She finished fourth – by 0.01 seconds – in the 200 free in London.
All three Bears swam in the 50-back heats, with Bootsma posting the sixth-fastest time of 28.28, Au swimming the 12th-best time of 28.39 and Franklin tying for the 13th-best time of 28.44.The 50-back semis did include two Bears, as sophomore Rachel Bootsma (USA) turned in the sixth-best time of 27.93 to reach the Thursday final, while senior Stephanie Au (Hong Kong) clocked the 13th-fastest time of 28.33 but did not advance.
Cal women have won eight medals through the first four days of the World Championships: Franklin has three golds, alumna Natalie Coughlin won gold with the U.S. 4x100-free relay, sophomore Elizabeth Pelton won gold for swimming on the U.S. 4x100-free relay in prelims, alumna Dana Vollmer (USA) claimed bronze in the 100 butterfly, and alumna Lauren Boyle (New Zealand) won bronze in the 400 and 1500 frees.
The fifth day of the World Championships takes place on Thursday with heats in the 100 free, 100 breaststroke and 4x200-free relay; semis in the 100 free and 100 breast; and finals in the 200 butterfly, 50 back and 4x200-free relay.