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Franklin Fires Back at Seebohm

Jul 30, 2012  - Karin Helmstaedt

Olympic Games, London: Day 3 Finals

Women's 100 backstroke final

You've got to hand it to Missy Franklin (USA) - she has the stuff of a legend in the making. Fourteen minutes after securing 8th place in tomorrow night's 200 freestyle final, the 17-year-old was back in the water for the 100 backstroke final - an "insane double" as many of her teammates were tweeting.

The Colorado teenager is bidding to become the first female swimmer to win seven medals at a single Olympics - and she's already got two in the bag after collecting a relay bronze on Day 1. To stay on track tonight she consulted Phelps' coach Bob Bowman - the expert on how to handle a quick turnaround.

After setting an Olympic record in yesterday's heats Australia's Emily Seebohm took it out again to the 50 but was unable to repeat the feat - and despite a shaky start Franklin turned on the jets to come from behind and win her first individual gold medal in 58.33 - in American record time.

Seebohm took silver in 58.68 - and Japan's Aya Terakawa reached in for the bronze in 58.83.

"This is exceeding expectation, a hundred billion times more than I ever thought it could be like," Franklin said afterward. "When you dream about something your whole life and you achieve it, you just don't really understand what you just did."

Seebohm was reduced to tears after finishing second. "I'm really happy," she told reporters, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. "I got silver and in my last Olympics I came ninth. But ninth is like second in a way. You're just so close, you just missed it. I know that I was super nervous today and so nervous that I couldn't even eat," she added. "So I'm sure that had something to do with it, but that's no excuse. I went in there and raced it and didn't come out on top."

Four years ago in Beijing as the youngest member of the Aussie team, Seebohm missed the final by 0.12 seconds after losing some seven kilos due to stress - and had to console herself with gold in the relay.

Last year she was visited by every illness in the book - from swine flu to bronchitis, pancreatitis and tonsillitis - and ended up fourth at the worlds in Shanghai - an agonising shut-out.

Just as agonising: her time of 58.23 in Sunday's morning heat would have been good enough for the gold on Monday.