BARCELONA, Catalonia: Teenage pool star Missy Franklin is relishing tackling eight events when swimming’s world championships start on Sunday as the sport adjusts to life after Michael Phelps.
Having quit after London 2012, where he collected a record 18th Olympic gold medal, Phelps, 28, will only be a spectator during the eight days of swimming’s world championships in Barcelona.
The 18-year-old Franklin will be looking to emulate Phelps, who won eight golds at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, as she tackles a punishing programme.
Franklin’s schedule includes the 100 and 200m freestyle, all three backstroke events over 50, 100 and 200m and all three relays — eight events in total.
“It’s definitely a lot, but I am very excited, these are some of my favourite races,” Franklin said on Friday.
Should she win all her events, she will manage something even Phelps failed to pull off — no swimmer, male or female, has ever won eight golds at a world championships.
Having won four golds at the 2012 Olympics, and three at the 2011 world championships in Shanghai, Franklin has been working on her 100m and 200m freestyle, where she finished fifth and fourth respectively in London.
“I was thrilled with how I did in London and exceeded my expectations there,” said the teenager.
“I’ve been training hard and working on the small things, so I am hoping it will all come off as the races happen.”
Franklin spearheads a youthful US team which will again be looking to top the medal table.
Other candidates to shine include Franklin’s USA compatriot Ryan Lochte, 28, who left London with two golds and silvers, and has 12 world gold medals in his collection dating back to 2005.
South Africa’s Olympic champions, 100m breaststroke star Cameron van der Burgh and 200m butterfly gold medalist Chad le Clos, will be looking to bring more swim success to their country.