BERKELEY, Calif. – Missy Franklin, who won four gold medals and one bronze at the Games of the XXX Olympiad, signed her binding national letter of intent to attend California, and will arrive on campus in August 2013 as perhaps the most accomplished and famous high school athlete in the history of American sports.
“With her credentials coming in, and her skill set, and her future aspirations, it’s going to bring an exciting added dimension,” said Teri McKeever, head coach of the Cal women’s swimming and diving program, in a conference call Wednesday.
During the 2012 Summer Games in London, Franklin set the world record in the 200-meter backstroke, was part of the world-record breaking 400-meter medley relay team, and also won gold in 100-meter backstroke and 800-meter freestyle relay. She added a bronze in the 400-meter free relay.
Franklin will compete for the Golden Bears for two years, then turn pro after the 2014-15 season.
McKeever is excited to work with Franklin, who attends Centennial (Colo.) Regis Jesuit, on a day-to-day basis and expand her skill set after serving as head coach of the U.S. women’s swimming team for the London Games.
“I don’t want Missy to come and swim the 100 and 200-back, 100 and 200-free for the next two years and do that nationally,” McKeever said. “I think it would be great to work on her breaststroke, and have her swim some fly, and just develop as an overall swimmer.”
Franklin will become the latest in a long line of high-profile swimmers to attend Cal, including Natalie Coughlin, and Dana Vollmer.
While the 2013 schedule is not yet set, McKeever knows there will be tremendous interest from the public in seeing Franklin compete.
“Obviously Missy did a wonderful job of being an ambassador for our sport and herself more importantly,” McKeever said. “I’m sure there are going to be people that are going to want to come and see her swim.
“How many times can you get to see someone of that caliber compete in person?”
Cal traditionally starts its season in late Sept. with a meet at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where Franklin’s cousin is enrolled.
“She had said that her cousin can see her swim her first college meet,” McKeever said.
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.