Swimming: United States star Franklin wary about China's Olympic challenge

Missy Franklin on Friday warned her United States team-mates to expect a strong challenge from China at next year's Olympics.
Missy Franklin on Friday warned her United States team-mates to expect a strong challenge from China at next year's Olympics.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - Missy Franklin on Friday warned her United States team-mates to expect a strong challenge from China at next year's Olympics as the rising Asian power bids to break the Americans' stranglehold on swimming.

Franklin, who starred with four golds for the US at London 2012, said she expected China to bring their "A game" to Rio as they try to topple the Americans.

The US have led the way at the last six Olympics, but China had their best Games in London as they finished second on the swimming medals table for the first time.

"They are always challenge us," Franklin said in Hong Kong, where she is competing at the eight-leg World Cup series as she begins her build-up to the Olympics. "It's always an incredible battle and they always bring their A game no matter what. They make us better and I think we're all really grateful for that."

At London 2012, Sun Yang lowered his men's 1,500m world record as he grabbed two golds, while Ye Shiwen caused a stir with two titles at the age of just 16.

Ye, who set tongues wagging with her world record in the women's 400m individual medley, has been hampered by injury but Franklin said she was capable of springing more surprises in Brazil.

"She's such a sweetheart," the American said of Ye. "I really wish her the best of luck and the most incredible success she can get, but I think it'll be anyone's game.

"I think she's more than capable of coming out and surprising everyone like she did in 2012."