On Tuesday evening, the girls’ swim team at Cherry Creek High School in Colorado lost a meet.
That wouldn’t be news, except that the Cherry Creek girls had only lost 19 times in the past 38 years.
The reason for that loss may have had something to do with 17-year-old Missy Franklin, who won five medals at the London Olympics and now swims for Regis Jesuit High School.
“All the girls there were really excited to see her,” Woo said. “The only problem is if you’re swimming in the lane next to her, and you’re on the other team it can be a little bit discouraging.”
But, swimming in the lane next to an Olympic celebrity might not be worth the cost to some at the high school Woo describes as “the New York Yankees of Colorado girls’ swimming.” The school has earned 26 state titles in 38 years.
“A few folks in Cherry Creek are saying, ‘Yeah, it’s cool to share a pool with her. It just kind of hampers our chances of winning another state title.’”
After earning four gold medals and a bronze in London, Franklin preserved her amateur status by turning down endorsement deals. The high school senior plans to race for Cal Berkeley next season before representing the United States at the 2016 Olympics.
Until then, she will continue representing Regis Jesuit High School.
“This is unprecedented,” Woo said. “No one ever like her has ever done this much at the top level and then returned to swim against, you know, 14-year-old freshmen.”