Franklin wins fifth gold at worlds

BARCELONA, Spain — Missy Franklin made history at the world swimming championships — and she might not even be the most impressive swimmer on her own team.

The U.S. women's coach gives his vote to Katie Ledecky.

"She's not normal," said Dave Salo, marveling at another world-record performance by the 16-year-old who doesn't even have her driver's license yet.

This much is for sure: The future of the American team is in very good hands with these Golden Girls.

Franklin won her fifth gold medal of the championships with a dominating victory in the 200-meter backstroke Saturday, tying the record for most titles by a woman at the every-other-year world meet.

The 18-year-old Franklin has one event remaining — the 400 medley relay during the final session Sunday — and a chance to join Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Kristin Otto as the only swimmers to win as many as six golds at the worlds or the Olympics.

"That was awesome," said Franklin, who has already bettered her performance at the London Games, where she won four golds and a bronze.

Ledecky came along next and wrapped up a brilliant meet with her fourth gold medal and second world record, this time in the 800 freestyle.

The youngster really turned it on over the final four laps to win in 8 minutes, 13.86 seconds. Now she can focus on getting that driving permit when she returns home to suburban Washington, D.C.

"I just stayed patient throughout the race," Ledecky said, "and made that move when I knew I had to."

Powering to the finish as though she was in a sprint, not the last of 16 laps, Ledecky took down the mark of 8:14.10 set by Britain's Rebecca Adlington at the 2008 Olympics.

Lotte Friis of Denmark set the early pace but simply couldn't keep up when Ledecky shifted into another gear, a repeat of their race in the 1,500 where the teenager broke the previous world record by more than 6 seconds.


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