Jul 30, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Missy Franklin (USA) reacts after winning the women's 100m backstroke finals during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
LONDON - OK, so maybe Missy Franklin won't win seven medals during these London Games.
The 17-year-old phenom has plenty of time - and Olympics - in her future to work on that medal count.
A night after winning her first individual gold, Franklin finished fourth in the women's 200-meter freestyle Tuesday night at the London Aquatics Centre. She led for the first 50 meters, but fellow American Allison Schmitt took over from there.
Schmitt won the race in an Olympic record 53.61. Camille Muffat of France earned silver, and Bronte Barratt of Australia took the bronze.
Franklin raced from Lane 8, one of the most disadvantageous pool positions. That's a result of her double Monday night, in which she swam her semifinal heat just 14 minutes before she had to be on the blocks for a final. Franklin said she tried to use her legs as little as possible in the 200 free semis so she would have enough energy for her 100-meter backstroke final.
"It's huge when you're in Lane 8," Franklin said. "I'm definitely not used to being on the outside like that, so it was kind of hard."
Franklin doesn't face setbacks often - not that she'd consider Tuesday's fourth-place finish one, either. She was still flashing that signature smile after the race.
The 17-year-old still has two individual events and two relays to compete in at these Games. She'll swim the 100-meter freestyle, which has its semifinals Wednesday and final Thursday, and the 200-meter backstroke, which has semis Thursday and its final Friday.
Franklin's father, Dick, called the 200 back her signature event. She owns the world record in short-course meters in the 200 back, a record she set at age 16. Winning gold in that event would be "her crowning (moment)," her father said.
Franklin already has won two Olympic medals this week.
The first was bronze, and she earned it as a member of the women's 4x100-meter freestyle relay Sunday night.
The second one was a bit more special; it was Franklin's first gold and first individual medal of what is expected to be a prolific Olympic career. She told the media afterwards that she felt like someone needed to pinch her because she couldn't believe she really won gold.
If she repeats that act a few more times this week, her father might be concerned for their safety.
"You've seen the way she swims - her dad's going to have a heart attack," Dick said. "It's like the first 50, 'C'mon honey, get into the race.' Then she makes her turn and somewhere around that three-quarter mark, it's like she's got an afterburner. Meanwhile, I'm chewing (my) nails until that last 20 meters.
"She scares me to death."
Dick laughed, and he said both he and his wife, D.A., were obviously thrilled Franklin got her first medal. But they would have been just as happy if it were bronze, he added.
Franklin said Tuesday that it was difficult to come down from the high of that victory and focus on swimming the 200 free final.
"It was a dream come true for me, but knowing we still had four more days of the meet is really hard," Franklin said. "I still have a lot to focus on, but hopefully I can keep doing that."
Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY