BERKELEY -- Swim sensation Missy Franklin didn't wait for formalities Wednesday as she began her new life as a Cal freshman.
"Hi, everybody," Franklin said while striding toward the podium at an introductory news conference. "How is everyone?"
Get used to it. The four-time Olympic gold medalist has a disposition as sunny as Strawberry Canyon on a summer's day.
Franklin, 18, starts classes Thursday as well as preparation for the swim season that begins Sept. 21 for one of the country's most talented women's teams.
Cal coach Teri McKeever has mentored Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer and a handful of other greats, but the Golden Bears have never had anyone of Franklin's stature. She hasn't had a post-Olympic letdown, winning a record six events at the World Championships in Barcelona earlier this month.
As a result, school officials are going to unusual lengths to ease Franklin into college life knowing the social media world never sleeps.
"This is Missy's new normal," McKeever said.
Franklin, who grew up in Centennial, Colo., said Berkeley already feels like home.
"It is fun getting accustomed to it," she said. "It's very different than Centennial. It's totally unique, totally crazy."
The presence of a celebrity is bringing changes to the Golden Bears as much as it is to Franklin, who showed off shiny golden fingernails and wore sparkly pink slippers.
McKeever plans to spend the next week talking to her swimmers about behavior away from the pool. She has asked them to turn off their location applications on cell phones, for example.
Franklin realizes she has to be careful about posting photos where she eats with friends or other personal information many college kids like to share.
Franklin is rooming on campus with another freshman swimmer McKeever declined to identify to allow for privacy.
Franklin also declined to say which classes she plans to take this fall. Franklin expects to swim for Cal for two years before turning professional to prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She will remain in Berkeley to train and complete her education.
But Franklin hasn't decided on a degree yet.
"I'm taking classes all over the board," she said.
In her 22nd season at Cal, McKeever feels a rebirth with the added dimension of coaching Franklin while trying to allow the swimmer to have a typical college life.
"She's 18, but she's not 18," the coach said. "We don't want to have a bubble around her. That's not real, either."
McKeever learned during the Big Game a year ago that Franklin had chosen Cal over other schools.
Sitting in the stands, McKeever saw she had a voice message from the recruit. McKeever told her husband she couldn't deal with it because of nerves over recruiting the best swimmer in a generation.
A little later a Cal assistant texted McKeever that Franklin needed to talk to her right away.
McKeever found a spot in the stadium at halftime to return the call.
"This is so hard," Franklin told McKeever. "I appreciate all you've done. I've got to go with my heart."
McKeever recalled thinking some phrases unsuitable for print.
Then Franklin let it out: she had chosen Cal.
"Did I get you?" Franklin teased.
And now McKeever gets to work full-time with an athlete who will be in the spotlight through the next Olympics.
"It's either limiting or it's an incredible opportunity," the coach said of the prison of fame. "It will work because of her."
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.