Irvine - Five-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin vowed to
fight on in her bid to return to swimming's summit in time for the 2020 Tokyo
Games on Thursday after a setback at the US Championships.
Franklin followed up a disappointing 100m freestyle on
Wednesday by failing to reach the final of the 200m free.
The results mean Franklin will miss out on the Pan Pacific
championships in Tokyo next month as well next year's world championships in South
Korea, the most important international meetings heading into Tokyo 2020.
"I'm pretty disappointed, I definitely wanted to be
better," said Franklin, who was swimming just her fourth meet since double
shoulder surgery in January 2017.
With backstroke, once one of her strengths, still causing
her pain in her shoulders, she opted to swim only the two freestyle events at
the championships in Irvine.
The 23-year-old finished 18th in the 200m free, clocking
1min 59.56sec in a field led by the 1:56.76 of Gabby Deloof.
She led the "C" consolation final through the
first 150 meters before fading to finish third.
"I am learning a lot about patience throughout
this," said Franklin, but her voice broke as she acknowledged her
"It's tough. I've trained really, really hard the last
seven months and was definitely hoping it would show up a little more. But it
didn't right now."
"Long term it's two years (until the Olympics), that's
what matters," she said. "So that's what we're going to keep fighting
for and I'll just do my best until then."
Franklin took the 2012 London Olympics by storm, winning
four gold medals and following up the next year with six world titles in
Barcelona in 2013.
But at the 2016 Rio Olympics she failed to make an
individual final, and her lone gold from Rio came in the 4x200m free relay, in
which she didn't swim the final.
While injuries and coaching changes contributed to
Franklin's decline, she revealed this year that post-Rio depression had also
She chose a small stage of meetings in France and Spain last
month to return to competition for the first time since Rio, and said as she
competes more she'll have to be careful not to compare herself to others on the
comeback trail - or to her previous self.
"I would have loved to qualify for a (national) team
this summer and next summer but now I'm just going to look at that as more time
to train, more time to focus and get as good as I possibly can."