Naturally, after that performance, she arrived in Barcelona dealing with the weight of expectations. Plus, she decided to take on an exhausting program that also includes the 400 and 800 free.
Not to worry. Ledecky nearly broke the world record while winning the 400, and she'll be a huge favorite in the 800 — a worthy successor to Janet Evans and the proud U.S. history in the women's distance events.
"It was really tough, my hardest race ever," Ledecky said. "I knew we were going pretty fast and I figured that whoever was going to come out on top was probably going to get the world record. So I just had to be careful not to push it too early or push it too late and just touch the wall first."
Franklin breezed to victory in the 100 back in 58.42 seconds. After capturing four golds and a bronze at the London Olympics, the recent high school graduate is trying to join Phelps as the only swimmers to win eight events at a major championship. She is now 2 for 2 at the Palau Sant Jordi, adding to her gold in the 4x100 free relay.
Australia's Emily Seebohm was next in 59.06, with the bronze medal going to Japan's Aya Terakawa in 59.23.
After the medal ceremony, Franklin hustled off to get ready for the 200 free semifinals. She barely qualified for the final of that event in London, and was edged out for a bronze medal by one-hundredth of a second.
Franklin has spent much of the past year working to improve her freestyle, and the results showed in the semis. Franklin easily qualified for the final with the second-fastest time, 1:56.05, trailing only world-record holder Federica Pellegrini of Italy.
"Hopefully, I will keep the momentum going," Franklin said. "Hopefully, Team USA will, too. We've had an absolutely incredible evening, and I'm so proud of all my teammates."
Agnel blew away the field — Lochte included — in the men's 200 free.
The big Frenchman pushed the pace right from the start and never let up. He touched in 1:44.20, a full body length ahead of the field, setting off another wild celebration from the large French contingent in the crowd.
The Americans did pick up a medal, but not necessarily from the swimmer they expected. Dwyer, a friend and former training partner of Phelps, took the silver in 1:45.32. Danila Izotov of Russia claimed bronze in 1:45.59.
Lochte missed a spot on the podium by 0.05.
Agnel is actually a training partner of Dwyer's, having moved recently to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club to work with Phelps' longtime coach, Bob Bowman.
"I am so surprised," said Agnel, the reigning Olympic champion. "I did not expect such a result."
Meilutyte just missed the world record she set the previous night in the semifinals of the 100 breast, winning in 1:04.42. Russia's Yuliya Efimova was next in 1:05.02, while Hardy — the former world-record holder — pulled out a bronze in 1:05.52.