Back-to-back backstroke gold for USA; Missy Franklin wins 1st of career

The 17-year-old USA swimming phenom, Missy Franklin got her Olympic career off to a perfect start. (US Presswire)

Missy Franklin's first big Olympic moment didn't even last 60 seconds -- and it ended in gold.

This is how you swim up to expectations. This is what was presumed of Ryan Lochte, fair or not.

Franklin touched the wall in Monday's 100-meter backstroke event in 58.33 -- an American women's record. The 17-year-old swimming phenom had a thrilling final 30 meters, coming from behind to pass Australian dynamo Emily Seebohm, who took silver with a 58.68 finish. Japanese swimmer Aya Terakawa took bronze, her 58.83 time an Asian female swimming record.

Now, you want to know why Franklin's finish was especially impressive? How about the lightning-quick turnaround she had prior to the race. Franklin was in the pool at 2:39 p.m. ET to swim in the semis of the 200-meter freestyle. She took fourth in her heat and eighth overall. She'll swim in those finals Tuesday.

From the end of that preliminary to the start of the 100-meter back was an 11-minute gap; Franklin reportedly milked her wait by treading water in the diving pool just nextdoor. And despite the physical excursion between two very different swimming competitions, Franklin got the gold anyway.

So it appears we have the inauguration of the real thing: American women's swimming's next big star. Franklin's only just begun here, though the 100-back is her specialty.


And Franklin's not the only gold medal winner for the United States in the pool from Monday. American Matt Grevers took gold in same event for the met, the 100-meter backstroke. Even better? Fellow USA swimmer Nick Thoman ended up with the silver.

Grevers had an Olympic record-setting swim of 52.16, beating out Thoman's 52.92. Japan's Ryosuke Irie won the bronze with a 52.97 swim-and-touch.

Both golds for the U.S. are big morale boosts for USA Swimming in general. As a whole, swimming is considered the United States' forte event above all others at the Summer Games. Until Monday? Some underwhelming results, even if there was a lot of laps left to swim.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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