Missy Franklin entered the 2012 Olympics Games as a potential breakout star for the U.S. The 17-year-old phenom has started to make waves already, and that only looks to grow as the Games go on.
Thus far Franklin has seen action in only three events: the 4x100-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke. She contends for a medal in the 100-meter backstroke later on tonight.
America was never a gold-medal contender in the 4x100 freestyle, but the improved performance by the team netted a new American record, with a time of three minutes, 34.24 seconds, good enough for bronze.
Franklin's first Olympic medal.
The 29th saw Franklin swim her way to the finals of the 100-meter backstroke.
In the sixth heat of the event, Franklin finished ahead of the field, with a time of 59.37 seconds, the second-fastest time in the opening heats. Only gold-medal favorite Emily Seebohm was quicker.
In the semifinals Franklin once again won her heat and posted the second-fastest time behind Seebohm. Franklin finished with a time of 59.12.
The Australian Seebohm and Franklin will be side-by-side when the finals of the race take place at 2:51 p.m. ET, Seebohm in lane four, Franklin in lane five. While Franklin is not expected to contend for the gold medal, she is expected to find her place on the podium for her second medal of the Games.
Seebohm, the prohibitive favorite in the event, has posted a time of 58.39, nearly a full second ahead of the field.
Franklin will have a better chance to take gold in the 200-meter backstroke.
But before she goes for a medal, Franklin dipped in for the heats of the 200-meter freestyle. Franklin finished second in her heat, behind Italian Frederica Pellegrini, holder of the world record, with a time of 1:57.62. She will be alongside Pellegrini again in the semifinals.
The semifinals get going at 2:30 p.m. ET, just 21 minutes before the backstroke finals are scheduled to get underway.
It is a tall task for the American, but, with her unbridled enthusiasm, she seems up to it.
As the calendar turns to August, Franklin will compete in the 100-meter freestyle and 4x200 freestyle races. On August 2nd the finals of the 100-meter freestyle are scheduled along with the qualifications for the 200-meter backstroke. Franklin will complete her Olympics on August 3rd and 4th by competing in the 4x100 medley relay.
But first things first, trying to pick up another medal for Team USA in the 100-meter backstroke.
Franklin's star is just starting to rise. Another medal will continue her ascent as the new face of female swimming in America.
By the end of the Games, expect the soon-to-be high school senior to be one of the biggest American stars of the 2012 London Games.