Record sixth gold for swimming’s ‘Wonder Woman’
(CNN) — Missy Franklin rewrote swimming’s record books with a sixth gold medal at the world championships in Barcelona Sunday.
The 18-year-old American swam the backstroke leg as the U.S. won the 4x100m medley relay on the final day of competition.
Franklin surpasses Tracy Caulkins of the U.S. and Australia’s Libby Trickett, who both won five golds at a single world championship in the women’s competition.
Only the great Michael Phelps has won more events at the championship, taking seven golds in 2007 in Melbourne.
Swimming the backstroke leg, Franklin gave her team a healthy lead with Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano finishing off the job as the U.S. won by nearly two seconds from Australia with Russia third.
Dubbed “Wonder Woman” by an Australian rival earlier in the championships, Franklin has lived up to the tag with other golds coming in the 4x100m freestyle relay, 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, 200m backstroke.
Fourth in the 100m freestyle final and withdrawal after qualifying for the semifinals of the 50m backstroke have been the only blemishes on her record in Spain.
She will now head to the University of California in Berkeley to continue her studies, but more importantly for now, prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Franklin won four golds at the 2012 London Games and will be hotly tipped to improve that tally four years later, given her current dominance.
The success of the women’s medley relay team came after their male counterparts were disqualified for an illegal handover after finishing first. France were awarded the gold.
The other dominant swimmer of the championships, China’s Sun Yang, won the men’s 1500m freestyle gold to complete a hat-trick of long distance events, having won the 400 and 800m titles.
The 21-year-old, who burst to prominence at the London Games. beat Canada’s Ryan Cochrane with Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri in third.
France won two golds on the final day, with Camille Lacourt taking the men’s 50m backstroke before their men’s medley team took advantage of the mistake by the U.S. team.
Yulia Efimova of Russia turned the tables on 16-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte in the women’s 50m breaststroke final to win her second gold medal.
Meilutye, who took the 100m title, broke Efimova’s world record for the 50m in the semifinals, but lost out to her by just 0.07 seconds in the battle for gold. Efimova also won the 200m title.