Missy Franklin Sets Record with Sixth Gold Medal at Swimming World Championships

Alan BlackAnalyst IIIAugust 4, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 03:  (L-R) Silver medal winner Belinda Hocking of Australia, Gold medal winner Missy Franklin of the USA and Bronze medal winner Hilary Caldwell of Canada celebrate on the podium after the Swimming Women's Backstroke 200m Final on day fifteen of the 15th FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi on August 3, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Missy Franklin accomplished on Sunday what no female swimmer has ever done before: win six gold medals at the world championships, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

Franklin combined with Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano to win the 400-meter medley relay, as the U.S. team raced to a convincing victory in the event that saw them finish a full two seconds ahead of second-place finisher Australia.

The medley relay gold gave Franklin her sixth gold medal of the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, breaking the record shared by Tracy Caulkins of the U.S. and Libby Trickett of Australia, who each won five golds in 1978 and 2007, respectively.

Swimming in eight events during the championships, Franklin took fourth in the 100-meter freestyle and dropped out of the 50-meter backstroke after the prelims, but she took home gold in all six of her other events.

Franklin, who is only 18, joined an exclusive group of swimmers who have won at least six medals at either the world championships or the Olympics.  Legendary swimmers Mark Spitz, Ian Thorpe, Kristin Otto and Michael Phelps are the only others to have ever accomplished the feat, putting Franklin in some very elite company.

Oddly enough, Franklin's record-setting weekend wasn't good enough for her to be named the top female swimmer of the championships.  That honor went to fellow American teenager Katie Ledecky, a 16-year-old who won four golds and set two world records.

Despite the snub, Missy Franklin established herself this weekend as the top female swimmer in the sport.  After all, how many female swimmers can say that they've won six gold medals at the world championships?

Following this weekend, just one: Missy Franklin.