United States' women's 4 x 100-meter medley relay team members from left, Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, and Alison Schmitt hold their gold medals on the podium at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
LONDON | On a night when the legendary Michael Phelps exited the world stage, Missy Franklin capped a brilliant Olympic debut by helping the U.S. win gold in the women’s medley relay — with a world-record time, no less.
The 17-year-old student at Aurora’s Regis Jesuit High School gives the U.S. hope for the post-Phelps era, having won five medals in London, including four golds to match Amy Van Dyken at the 1996 Atlanta Games for the most by an American female swimmer. She swam seven events, the same as Phelps.
“I don’t think his shoes will ever be filled. They’re so huge,” Franklin said. “Hopefully I can make little paths next to him.”
The Americans dominated the medal count at the pool, finishing with 16 golds and 30 overall.
Franklin grabbed the lead right away in the backstroke, and Rebecca Soni stretched out the advantage in the breaststroke. Dana Vollmer cruised through the fly and Allison Schmitt finished it off, pulling away for a time of 3:52.05, beating the mark of 3:52.19 set by China at the 2009 world championships.
It was the second world record of the night and ninth of the Olympic meet, proving fast times are still possible even without banned high-tech bodysuits.