Missy Franklin Sets World Record In 200m Backstroke, Wins Third Gold

American teenager Missy Franklin claimed her third gold medal of the 2012 Olympic Games on Friday night by setting a world record in the 200-meter backstroke.

Franklin, 17, finished with an incredible time of two minutes, 4.06 seconds — three-quarters of a second faster than the previous record, set by Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe at the 2009 world championships in Rome in a now-banned bodysuit.

“I can’t believe what just happened,” gushed Franklin, after breaking a record that had stood for three years. “I knew I was giving it everything I had because I couldn’t feel my arms or legs and I was just trying to get my hand to the wall as fast as I could.”

With her 200m backstroke win, Franklin has now won three gold medals, as she also captured first in the 100 backstroke as well as being part of the first-place team in the 4×200 freestyle relay.

Her fourth medal, a bronze, came in the 4×100 freestyle relay.

“She’s an amazing competitor, she’s always having fun but she really knows how to tune in when she needs to,” said third-placed American team mate Elizabeth Beisel.

According to the WSJ, Missy Franklin’s win in Friday’s 200-meter backstroke marks the first time an American woman has won the event since 1972, and the third time in history.

The teenage swimming superstar still has one race left under her belt as she competes for gold later tonight in the women’s 4×100 medley relay.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mel Stewart talks about Missy’s chances at winning her final event of the 2012 London Games.