AURORA | Missy Franklin’s personal time seems to diminish by the day, but she uses it to write in a journal.
Monday’s entry for the 17-year-old senior at Regis Jesuit High School will probably be a long one after an assembly that honored her performance at the Summer Olympics in London, in which the swimming phenom won four gold medals and one bronze and set two world records.
Franklin didn’t want the whole spotlight on her, so she asked Regis Jesuit Girls Division athletic director John Koslosky if she could be part of a pep rally introducing the school’s fall sports. She blended in with the student body for most of the energy-filled assembly, but was called up to the podium to chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” before she spoke to her adoring fans and assembled media.
“I have to start off by saying thank you and I love you,” Franklin said citing an Olympic watch party filled with Regis Jesuit student, a version of “Call Me Maybe” made for her by the school’s football team and the well-wishes flooding to her via social media.
“Even if you were just watching at home, all of that means the absolute world to me. I can’t thank you enough for all of that. Honestly, I’ll tell you I would not be standing right here without you guys, so thank you so, so much.”
There was no appearance this time by Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker — who made a surprise appearance at a send-off ceremony for Franklin in May — but there was an anticipated performance by Silent Thunder, a group of Regis Jesuit teachers.
With a long blue tarp representing water behind them, the group did their best impression of Franklin, then added a few synchronized moves of their own to the delight of Franklin and the crowd.
“You can never go wrong with Silent Thunder,” Franklin said afterwards. “I love them. The fact that teachers would get up and do that in front of a students shows how close our school is. And then standing up front and just seeing all my classmates and school stand up for me was great.”
Franklin also enjoyed the swimming-themed performance of the Rowdies, the Boys Division cheerleaders known for their wild outfits, who she mentioned in an interview on national television.
“That was great, at first I didn’t believe it, so I had to look online and try to see it again; it was really cool that she mentioned us,” said senior Tom Beasley, a Rowdie who sported a banana costume to the assembly. “It’s so much fun knowing Missy is doing this and just loves the support and all the care and love that we give her. She loves coming to football games, so we’ll see her a lot.”
Afterward, Franklin and her parents, DA and Richard, held out some of the gold medals for students to touch and take pictures with.
Since her return from London, Franklin’s been going non-stop. Richard Franklin said there have been 50 appearance requests already for his daughter between now and Christmas, coming on the heels of multiple visits to NBC’s “Today Show” as well as a trip to New York City for an interview on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Besides getting into her school work, Franklin — who is taking a reluctant break from the pool and is just doing weight training — is turning her attention toward finding the right college fit for her future.
Despite offers in the millions in endorsements, Franklin is still intent on swimming on a college team. She’ll take her first visit this weekend to Cal-Berkeley, home of the defending NCAA champion Bears, which has Franklin’s Colorado Stars teammate Caroline Piehl on board already.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-750-7555