IRVINE – Cal sophomore Missy Franklin got the Golden Bears’ off to a rousing start at the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships Wednesday by winning the 100-meter freestyle in 53.43 seconds.
Shortly after Franklin’s victory, incoming freshman Cierra Runge took second in the 800 free, and Cal closed out the night with a second-place finish in the 4x100 free relay.
Results from the meet help determine U.S. squads for four international meets – the Pan Pacific Championships that will be contested in Australia Aug. 21-24, as well as the 2015 World Championships, World University Games and Pan Am Games.
Franklin, the reigning world champion in the 100 free, found herself in a tough battle against Simone Manuel, the top qualifier from morning preliminaries. In the final, Manuel led at the midway point and for much of the last 50 meters until Franklin surged to the front over the final few meters to touch first.
“I knew Simone was right next to me and she always goes out so fast,” Franklin said. “I knew that I was going to have to come home hard. I just put my head down and tried to get my hand to the wall.”
Franklin’s time of 53.43 equaled her own meet record and was just 0.07 seconds off her personal best. Former Golden Bear Natalie Coughlin also reached the final and took seventh in 54.52.
”To be that close to a best time right now, I’m really, really happy with that,” Franklin said.
In the 800 free, Runge, who hails from Cochranville, Pa., set a personal best by more than two seconds, placing second behind Katie Ladecky in 8:24.69.