Franklin wins historic sixth gold

American teenager claims record sixth gold medal of the world swimming championships in 400m medley relay.

    Franklin wins historic sixth gold
    The 18-year-old improved on her performance at the London Olympics, where she won four golds and a bronze [AFP]

    Teenager Missy Franklin became the first woman to win six gold medals at a world swimming championships as the USA took the women's 4x100m medley relay on Sunday in Barcelona.

    Franklin swam the first leg as the USA clocked 3min 53.23sec to claim gold with Australia 1.99 back in second and Russia at 3.24 drift in third.

    The 18-year-old claimed her six world title, having already won the 100 and 200m backstrokes, 200m freestyle, as well as the 4x100 and 4x200m freestyle relay titles at the Palau Sant Jordi pool.

    Her haul matches Ian Thorpe of Australia at the 2001 world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, and has only been bettered by Michael Phelps' seven golds at Melbourne in 2007.


    "It is an honour to be first woman to reach this landmark," said Franklin, who won five medals at the London 2012 Olympics, including four golds, and set the 200m backstroke record.

    "I never could have expected something like this coming into the meet.

    "I exceeded my expectations, I'm really excited on what I have built on since London and what is to come over the next year."

    But Franklin rejected suggestions she is the female equivalent of swimming superstar Michael Phelps, who retired last year after 18 Olympic golds and 26 world championship titles.

    "I don't want to take after someone else, I just want to be Missy," said Franklin.

    "No one will ever do what Michael did, I have my own traits that make me known for who I am in the swimming world and I don't want to be anyone else."

    Having entered eight events in Barcelona, only the 50m backstroke, from which she withdrew after qualifying for the semi-finals, and the 100m freestyle, when she came fourth, eluded her.

    "My hardest race here was the 100m free, I have the most room to improve there," said Franklin, who will attend the University of California in Berkeley later this year to work with Teri McKeever, the USA women's head coach at London 2012.

    "I have been able to prove to myself with how much I have swum and had so much fun with doing it, so I look forward to having more opportunities to do so in the future."


    In the end, the medley relay was a formality for the USA women after the men's team had seen victory snatched away from them after being disqualified when Kevin Cordes went too early in the second leg.

    "It reminded us to learn from their mistake," admitted Jessica Hardy, who swam the US women's second leg.

    "I think the next three years the US team are going to have learned a harsh lesson to ensure that doesn't happen again."

    After Franklin gave the USA an early lead in the backstroke leg, breaststroker Jessica Hardy and Dana Vollmer, in the butterfly, held the lead before Megan Romano anchored the freestyle, just ahead of Cate Campbell of Australia.

    "I am exhausted just watching her," said Campbell, the 100m freestyle champion who dubbed Franklin swimming's "Wonder Woman".

    "I'm definitely scared (about what she could do in the 100m free) and she has definitely motivated me to train just a little bit harder."



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