x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Missy Franklin bends her back for victory

The teenager carries the form, which saw her win three golds at the worlds, into the US nationals by clinching the 100-metre backstroke.

Missy Franklin, the 16 year old who won three gold medals at the world championships, won the 100-metre backstroke at the US national championships with the fifth-fastest time in the world this year.

Franklin touched in 59.18 seconds to win her first national title, just two days after returning from the world championships. "It feels absolutely amazing," she said, her youthful enthusiasm hardly dimmed by jet lag from the long flight and 15-hour time difference with Shanghai.

"I'm so happy to be here."

Ryan Lochte, who won five golds in China, finished third in the men's 100m backstroke on his 27th birthday. "I did everything I could," he said. "I'm running on 'E' [empty] right now and my coach knows it."

Franklin won three gold medals and a bronze in Shanghai, including the 200m backstroke title.

"I definitely did want to break 59, but being that close I'm still really happy with it," Franklin said. "It sets me up well for next year. There's still a lot I can improve on and that race kind of helped me out and showed me what I can do better."

Lochte was second at the turn before touching third behind Olympian Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman. Grevers, who did not make the US team for worlds, won in 53.14secs. Thoman, fourth in the 100 back in China, was second at 53.57secs.

"Anytime you can beat Ryan Lochte is a great time," Grevers said. "To win here is great, not completely fair because these guys had a long trip back from China, but a win's a win."

Lochte finished in 53.79secs in the event that will likely determine whether he is included in the 4x100m medley relay at next year's London Olympics. He did not swim the relay in China and needs a solid time to put his name in the mix. "Backstroke was all right with how tired I am," said Lochte, who did not make it out of the preliminaries in the 100m breaststroke on Tuesday.

He said he was taking the rest of the meet off. His immediate plans included a birthday dinner.

"I didn't know travelling across the world and getting right into the pool would affect me that much and it definitely did," he said.