For most high school girls, a 15-minute backstage conversation with Justin Bieber might top the highlights of life's great moments. Probably not for Missy Franklin, though.
The Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) High senior met Bieber at Denver's Pepsi Center on Monday, but that memory probably ranks somewhere down the list behind winning four gold medals and setting a pair of world records at London's 2012 Summer Olympics.
After arriving home from the concert at midnight, Franklin awoke for her traditional 4 a.m. workout on Tuesday morning and resumed her prep swimming career against Highlands Ranch (Colo.) later that afternoon, as detailed by The Denver Post.
Needless to say, she dominated the 200-yard individual medley by half a minute and lapped her rivals in the 500-yard freestyle, qualifying for the state meet in both events. She also swam state-qualifying legs in the 4x200- and 4x400-meter freestyle relays.
"I was so nervous before this meet," the future Cal-Berkeley Golden Bear told the paper. "I have no idea why. I was literally intensely shaking in the locker room. All my teammates were like, 'What is wrong with you?'"
Only about 250 spectators showed up to Franklin's first high school swimming meet since she dazzled millions watching this past summer's Olympics in London, where she won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, the 4x100-meter medley relay and 4x200-meter freestyle relay in addition to a bronze medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay.
Franklin's Olympic times of 2:04.06 in the 200-meter backstroke and 3:52.05 with teammates Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmmitt in the 4x100 medley relay both marked new world records, leading to the 17-year-old's selection as Swimming World Magazine's World Swimmer of the Year.
Her performance this past July led many rival parents in Colorado to question Franklin's decision to swim at the high school level this season, according to The Denver Post. The 6-foot-1 swimmer with size 13 feet wrestled with the choice but ultimately opted to swim alongside her Regis Jesuit teammates, as she should.
"I want to make the sport better, and definitely not take away from it at all," she added. "And that's what made the decision so hard: the comments. That's not their fault at all. They're giving their opinion, and I totally understand that.
"They are concerned I take attention away. It's totally true. I feel so guilty whenever that happens, but I hope the pros outweigh the cons."
While opposing parents might have raised a stink, Franklin's actual Highlands Ranch opponents naturally reveled in the chance to compete against a bona fide swimming superstar, taking pictures with their rival to chronicle the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"I was shocked," Highlands Ranch freshman Shawna Doughten told The Post. "She was really fast. She lapped me three or four times. But I was encouraged. She makes you think anyone can do it. It was a lot more fun than a regular meet."
Added HRHS freshman Sydney Merritt to FOX Sports: "This is really cool because she's been an idol for me. Ever since she won the Olympics, I wanted to see her swim."