Missy Franklin seems to be able to do it all. In June and July, the 17-year-old swimmer from Centennial, Colo., became the first American woman to qualify for the Olympic Games in seven swimming events.
One of those events was the 200-meter backstroke, in which competitors swim four lengths of the pool in the backstroke discipline. Franklin will head into the Olympic Games with the fastest time in the world this year in the event at 2:06.12, but she's capable of swimming much faster. In fact, at the 2011 World Championships, Franklin won the event in a time of 2:05.10.
The world record in the event is 2.04.94, and the Olympic record is 2:05.24. Both records are held by Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, and both records were set before high-tech swim suits were banned in 2009.
Franklin already is the American record holder in the 200 backstroke. Is it possible that she'll leave the Olympic Games as the Olympic and world record holder, as well?
Absolutely, provided that she wins the 200 backstroke in London. She'll face some tough competition from swimmers who have already competed in past Olympic Games, and Franklin is scheduled to swim a lot of events in London. Even so, the bubbly Franklin will be the favorite to win the women's 200 backstroke, and she certainly is capable of winning the event in world-record time.
In fact, she already holds the world record in the short course version of the 200 backstroke.
So far, Franklin seems to be handling the pressure of the Olympic Games well. Sure, she's young and a relative newcomer on the world stage, but Franklin is down-to-earth, level-headed, realistic and excited -- four traits that will could serve her well when the Olympic Games begin.
In London, she'll swim the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events, the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events, and three relays. She's set herself up to win more Olympic medals in a single Games than any other American woman in swimming history.
Read more from this author: Women's 200-Meter Backstroke Preview: Swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games
Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She is a longtime Olympic fan, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46