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Missy Franklin starts life as a Cal Freshman

Remember when you first moved to Berkeley to start your Cal life? It surely did not include a press conference where the press scrutinize over every mundane details. Missy Franklin cheerfully answered their questions and praised Berkeley and the Cal swimming "family" every chance she got.

Missy Franklin is not only excited to have won medals at World last month, but also starting college this week.
Missy Franklin is not only excited to have won medals at World last month, but also starting college this week.
Clive Rose

Missy Franklin moved to Berkeley last weekend. With less than a week in her new home for the next 4 years (she plans on training in Berkeley and continue to work on her degree even after turning pro in 2 years), Missy met with the Bay Area press to talk about starting her new life as a Cal freshman.

Here is the full video of her press conference.

Yep, the gregarious Missy Franklin, expected US Olympic hero for the Rio 2016 games now that Michael Phelps has retired, was asking about a member of the media before the Bay Area press can ask her questions. The bubbly teenager showed her youthful excitement for starting her college life throughout the entire interview, with Cal swimming coach Teri McKeever (future CGB Hall of Famer?) by her side. Showing tremendous poise for an 18 year old, Missy also demonstrated the refreshing eagerness of a college freshman (and I feel a bit old writing stuff like that).

Although they have yet to have a formal practice in the pool yet but have already received the Cal swim caps, Missy has already bonded with the rest of the freshman swimmers, one of whom is her roommate. She talked at length about having the camaraderie with her teammates and have that college experience and being a part of a team, despite swimming being mostly an individual sport. As have been mentioned in many places, Missy has turned down millions of dollars in endorsement and even bonuses for breaking World Records to keep her collegiate eligibility to swim for Cal. In a way, she is paying millions of dollars to have the Cal experience.

Teri mentioned trying to have a "normal" experience for Missy despite her fame. As the world is apparently quite cynical of a successful youngster that looks genuinely happy almost all the time, there were quite a bit of discussion about when her grumpy side might show.

Missy also talked about having former Cal swimming stars Natalie Coughlin and Nathan Adrian as not only role models but friends in her life. It is all part of the whole Cal swimming family that drew her to the program in the first place.

And so far, she is enjoying her new home.

Some specifics from her press conference

  • No idea what her major will be. Taking mostly prereq's in her first semester in Berkeley.
  • Her plan is to wait until the end of the NCAA in her sophomore year to turn pro. However, she will remain on campus to both train with the team as she prepare for Rio 2016 games. She is also planning to continue her education and finish her degree (in a to be determined field).
  • Missy sobbed when saying good bye to her parents, but her teammates are getting her through it.
  • Missy praised her parents for bring her up right. She is not too worried about being a public figure living in a time of mass social media.
  • Teri has yet to figured out a plan for Missy's training. In case you missed it, Missy won a record number of Golds at the Worlds in Barcelona earlier in the summer. She actually had fairly mediocre to poor start out of the block. There are definitely room for her to improve on her already world record breaking times.

Some quotes about her decision to come to Cal (wording of the quotes taken from the published articles listed below):

"I said to my parents, 'Is it bad that I haven't even been on campus yet and I already know I'm coming here? I knew it in my heart the whole time."

Missy also apparently played a trick on Teri by not stating her intention right away and pretended to want to go elsewhere before breaking the good news. See more detail in the ESPNW article by Michelle Smith, which apparently included quotes from other interview(s) than the press conference above.

"To be honest, it really wasn't the (historical Cal swim greatness) that drew me to the team. It was just how they were around each other at the Olympics. It was just how they were in practice, the things they did in practice, how they communicated with each other, how close they were. I was envious. I just felt that no one else could really do team like Teri, and like Cal, could."

"It just feels like home already."

Click here for the SF Chronicle article on Missy, here for the San Jose Mercury article.