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Missy Franklin steals the show at first day of U.S. Nationals

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Most people would not consider Missy Franklin to be a sprinter. On Tuesday night at the first night of the Phillips 66 U.S. National championships at the IUPUI Natatorium, somebody forgot to inform that fact to her.

“I like to think I’m a sprinter,” said a laughing 18-year old Franklin.

Franklin couldn’t keep a straight-face or stop over-enthuiastically laughing, but who could blame her? On Tuesday night, filled in a women’s 100 meter freestyle field that featured three other Olympic gold medalists outside of herself, Franklin finished the race with a championship record 53.43 to touch in for first.

The result was a career-best for the four-time Olympic gold medalist, who couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out.

“This meet is definitely a lot about racing,” said Franklin. “It is really about placement, and wanting to get on that team (400 relay team). Before the race I just wasn’t thinking. I was like I’m going to just get out there and swim. That’s what I know how to do, so I’m just going to get out there and race. Coming home Todd told me just to get off the 50 wall, put my head down, and swim in my own lane. I did, and I just tried to finish with all that I had.”

Franklin edged out Shannon Vreeland, who was second in 53.83, and 16-year-old Simone Manuel who took third in 53.86.

Other highlights from the event include Nathan Adrian’s first-place finish in the 100 men’s with a time of 48.10, and Tom Luchsinger won the first 200 meter butterfly without Michael Phelps in the race with a time of 1:55.57.

Nine more events, including Franklin’s attempt to win the 200 meter back, will continue on Wednesday night.

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