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Cal & McKeever Herald Franklin's Arrival

Nov 15, 2012  - Craig Lord

Cal women's swimming has heralded Missy Franklin's autumn 2013 arrival with official confirmation that the 17-year-old four-times Olympic gold medal winner from London 2012 has signed on the dotted line.

Teri McKeever, Cal's and USA women's head coach in London, won the the recruiting bout with other colleges and coaches - but not before Franklin played a little joke on her future mentor: McKeever said yesterday at an official announcement in California that her heart sunk for "30 seconds" when the opening tone a call from Franklin suggested that she had opted to go elsewhere.

Franklin then confirmed her choice - one made all the easier by shared Olympic experience this summer past with the guides on the deck and the likes of Cal seniors Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

"I can't wait to be a part of that team," Franklin declared in a video post. "I hope to bring whatever it is they need. I can't wait to get to know the girls better. I am so excited."

After turning pro in 2015 ahead of Rio 2016, Franklin intends to stay with McKeever all the way to the defence of the 100m and 200m backstroke crowns claimed under the guidance of Colorado coach Todd Schmidt. 

"I think a big draw to Cal for me was just the pride of saying you have a degree from Cal," Franklin said. "I think that's such a great honor to say that. I can't wait to be challenged."

With a nod to all the prize money and other financial rewards that Franklin will no longer be able to claim under NCCA rules, McKeever told reporters: "I'm sure she gave up a lot of money. Does Missy Franklin have the ability to make millions? Yes, I think she does. I told her if you do this right, you're going to be able to pick your cause. Swimming is the vehicle to make a difference in the world. I think it's going to be awesome.

"She's going to have two years to figure out where she wants to make a difference ... beyond swimming, beyond the Olympics. I'm excited to be part of that."

McKeever said she will get Franklin to swim some breaststroke and butterfly events in addition to her mainstay events in freestyle and backstroke during her college years. Points add up to prizes in college swimming - and the more the likes of Franklin can race, the bigger the rewards for Cal. 

Franklin's first meet for the Golden Bears may be one at Cal Poly at the end of September. On her impressions of Cal on a visit a couple of months back, Franklin said: "I can't find a single thing I don't like about it. The campus itself is gorgeous. I had such a great time on my recruiting trip. We all went into San Francisco. It was an absolute blast."

McKeever is confident that success will not sweep Franklin off her feet: "She wants to be part of the team. That means training with the team, traveling with the team, doing what the team does. 

"Missy did a wonderful job (in London) of being an ambassador for our sport. I'm sure there are people who are going to want to come see her compete."

In London, Franklin won the 100 and 200m back titles, shared gold in the 4x100m medley and 4x200m free relays and bronze in the 4x100m freestyle. She also raced in the 100m (fifth) and 200m freestyle (fourth) finals. Not a bad opening gambit ...