Missy Franklin took home her first Olympic medal on Saturday with a bronze medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay. On Sunday, Franklin successfully began her bid for her first individual medal, winning her heat in the 100 meter backstroke with a time of 59.37, and then swimming a 59.12 in her semifinal.
For weeks, the 17-year-old has been the heavy favorite to take home gold in the 100 meter backstroke after her sensational performances at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha. However, following the semifinal heats, Emily Seebohm of Australia became the one to beat.
Seebohm broke the Olympic record with a time of 58.23 in the heats and followed it up with a dominant 58.39 in Sunday's semifinal. Seebohm swam nearly a full second faster than Franklin, her closest competitor and has been the only woman to beat the 59 second mark in the 100m backstroke at these Games.
"I'm hoping tomorrow night I can do something great," Seebohm said.
Aya Terakawa enters the final with the third fastest time of 59.34. Host nation Great Britain also has one swimmer bidding for a medal in Gemma Spofforth who enters the final with a time of 59.70.
Spofforth's Olympic experience is one full of emotion and perseverance; she finished fourth on two occasions in Beijing four years ago and recently faced personal tragedies. Spofforth nearly retired from the sport earlier this year, but is showing she is ready to compete in these Games.
"I am just excited to see what I can do in the final and that is all I am concentrating on," she said.
She will need to be in top form if she hopes to challenge Seebohm or Franklin. Seebohm is not the clear favorite and will look to swim under 59 seconds yet again. Franklin on the other hand will likely need to swim her career best time if she hopes to bring home the individual gold. Expect this race to be one of the closest and most riveting of the Games.
The final is set to take place on Monday at 2:51p.m. ET. The race will not be broadcast on American television live, but you can watch a free live stream online here.