US swim star Missy Franklin pulled out of Wednesday’s 50m backstroke semi-finals at the world swimming championships to focus on the evening’s 200m freestyle final, a USA spokeswoman confirmed.
The 18-year-old had been due to race in the evening’s 50m backstroke semis, then the 200m freestyle final, but decided to prioritise the longer event.
Franklin has already claimed two world golds at Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi and was equal 13th-fastest in the morning’s 50m backstroke heats but admitted she was feeling sore having won the 100m backstroke final on Monday night.
“I’m a little sore this morning, I’m not going to lie. The 50m backstroke is just a fun event for me,” she had told reporters on Wednesday morning.
Team USA spokeswoman Karen Linhart confirmed that Franklin had withdrawn to focus on her freestyle final, but the teenager is still due to race in four more events: the medley and 4x200m relays, plus the 200m backstroke and 100m freestyle.
Having won five medals at the London 2012 Olympics, including four golds, Franklin had originally entered eight events at the Barcelona championships.
Lithuania hails first world champion
Lithuanian leaders and media hailed teen star Ruta Meilutyte on Wednesday after she set a world record and became the Baltic state’s first-ever swimming world champion.
“We are convinced that you will rewrite the world’s swimming history and become the best all-time swimmer,” Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said. The 16-year-old won gold in the 100m breaststroke on Tuesday.