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USA TODAY Sports' Nancy Armour shares her Top 5 from Rio. USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK — As she works to move past her heartbreaking Olympic Games, Missy Franklin’s main goal is to fall back in love with the water.

“If I want to continue having the longevity in the sport the way I want to, I need to take a step back now and realize why I'm doing this,” Franklin, 21, said Monday before the Golden Goggles, USA Swimming’s annual awards gala. “And who I'm doing this for. And making sure that I'm going to practice every day because I want to and not because I feel like I have to or because I need to make someone else happy.”

Franklin said she never fell “out of love” with the sport of swimming exactly, but her tough meet at U.S. Olympic trials and then her even more challenging Olympic meet wore on her. Franklin won one medal (gold) in Rio, as part of the women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay, though she only swam in the preliminary heat and not the final. She failed to qualify for finals in either of her two individual events, the 200 free and the 200 backstroke. Her trademark ear-to-ear grin was replaced by tears.

“This summer was almost like going through a bit of a break-up,” Franklin said. “You put so much work into something and it really, really lets you down and you're just so disappointed with that. …  It's horrible. It's the worst thing that you ever experience.

“So now, it's just a matter of going back to the roots and going back to the little girl who fell in love with it. All the pressure I felt this summer and just the way that I felt like I disappointed so many people — I want to make sure that when I head out there again that I have the right mindset and attitude going into it.”

Franklin immediately made some drastic changes. She returned to Cal to take classes — online for now, but she’s registered for on-campus classes in the spring semester — and she’s also begun training with Dave Durden, the Bears’ head men’s coach who also trains a group of postgrad swimmers that includes five-time Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian. Twelve-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin had also trained with Durden’s men’s group in the lead-up to the 2016 trials.

Coughlin, who had trained previously with Teri McKeever and the Cal women’s team, said often that she benefited from her change to her training routine, and the guys around her. Franklin, so far, has found her switch revitalizing as well. She, too, had trained with McKeever during her two years at Cal before returning home to Colorado and her prep coach, Todd Schmitz, in the lead-up to Rio.

Now, she’s back on a campus she loves surrounded by friends she missed. And she’s starting a new training regimen. She maintains that her goal is to swim in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Durden said his training group has been a good fit for Franklin so far, and her goals align, obviously, quite well with that of his other elite postgrad swimmers, who train with their eyes on major international meets and not the collegiate calendar.

“I’ve never enjoyed going to practice so much,” Franklin said. “They're incredible teammates, they work so hard every single day. It's just such a fun group.”

Said Durden: ““I think it’s been good for her to do something a little different, with a group of guys she spent a lot of time with out in Rio.”

Durden, an assistant coach for the U.S. men’s team, had five swimmers in Rio, and four of them won at least one medal — led by Ryan Murphy, America’s new backstroke star, who took home three gold medals. At the Golden Goggles Monday night, Durden was named USA Swimming’s Coach of the Year.

“There are a lot of reasons why I chose Dave,” Franklin said. “I really respect who he is as a person, not only as a coach, but what he stands for and the values that he teaches his team and the way that he coaches. I always loved the way that Dave interacted with his athletes, and the way the athletes interacted with each other, it seems he’s really, really special. I've never heard a bad word about him. He's obviously an incredible coach; that speaks for itself, especially with the results from this summer.

“I felt like it was an environment where I could go into it and be open, be myself and also have someone who really understood where I was at, who understood my position and who was going to work with me to help me through it. That's exactly what he's been doing.”

PHOTOS: SWIMMING AT OLYMPICS IN RIO

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