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Franklin claims fifth world gold, eyes sixth

US swimmer Missy Franklin competes in the final of the women's 200-metre backstroke, August 3, 2013
US swimmer Missy Franklin competes in the final of the women's 200-metre backstroke swimming event in the FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on August 3, 2013. Franklin of the United States picked up her fifth gold at swimming's wor

Missy Franklin of the United States picked up her fifth gold at swimming's world championships in Barcelona and now aims to become the first woman to win six on Sunday.

"It would mean so much to me. It is my favourite relay tomorrow night. We'll have an incredible group of girls going so I'm really looking forward to it," said the 18-year-old ahead of Sunday's 4x100m individual medley and after securing her fifth gold in Saturday's 200m backstroke.

Franklin's five golds ties her with compatriot Tracy Caulkins (1978) and Australia's Libby Trickett (2007) for the most titles at a single world championship meet.

If she wins a sixth, it will match Ian Thorpe of Australia's tally of six world titles at Fukuoka in 2001 which has only been bettered by Michael Phelps' seven gold at Melbourne in 2007.

Franklin, who set the world record in winning gold in the 200m backstroke final at the London Olympics, clocked 2min 04.76sec in a new championship record in Saturday's final.

Australia's Belinda Hocking was 1.90sec back in second place and Canada's Hilary Caldwell 2.04 adrift in third.

Having won the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke and 200m freestyle gold, as well as victories with the USA in the 4x100 and 4x200m freestyle relays in Barcelona, Franklin admitted her schedule has taken its toll.

"It never gets easy, the competition here is the best in the world so you know every race will be tough," she said.

"It is equally as difficult every single time, but equally as rewarding, that is for sure."

Having entered eight events in Barcelona, only the 50m backstroke, from which she withdrew, and the 100m freestyle, where she finished fifth in the final, got the better of her.

Missy Franklin (C), Belinda Hocking (L) and Hilary Caldwell pose on August 3, 2013
Gold medalist US swimmer Missy Franklin (C), silver medalist Australia's Belinda Hocking (L) and bronze medalist Canada's Hilary Caldwell pose on the podium during the award ceremony of the final of the women's 200-metre backstroke swimming event in the F

"It definitely takes a lot of control emotionally and physically," she said of a schedule which has seen her race daily.

"Coming up to the meet, you have so much energy and you're so ready to swim that you have to bottle that and save it.

"Once the meet gets here, you have to take it session by session because if you look at it as a whole, it can be very overwhelming.

"One day at a time, one race at a time it is a lot easier to handle.

"I love every race that I swim here. It is so fun getting so many opportunities to do what I love.

"It is really tiring, you guys don't see it but at 10.30 at night I sit in bed with my chocolate milk and that is when I'm most tired," she told reporters.

Having finished fifth in the Olympic final, Hocking said she was delighted with silver.

"I think after 2011, I was really happy with the silver," said the 22-year-old, who also won silver at the Shanghai championships two years ago.

"Last year, I went to London expecting a little too much out of myself.

"Since then I changed coaches, moved towns and away from my parents for the first time and it is a new adventure and that's what swimming is to me now.

"It is about waking up and enjoying it every day that is how I got on the podium tonight.

"It's great that now I know these girls well enough that in the marshaling room we talk to each other, we're not just sitting around crapping ourselves."

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