I’ve got a bet for you: The best female swimmer in the world versus me. Who you got?

For the June 2012 issue (on newsstands later this week), I profiled Colorado’s 17-year-old swimming sensation Missy Franklin. As part of the reporting, I challenged her to a race. I watched so many of Franklin’s swims during the five months I spent with the future Olympian that I decided I needed to experience it firsthand. It’s a moment I’ll never forget (and you may not be able to).

Yes, I am wearing a Speedo. No, I have never dived into a pool quite like that. I have also never executed a flip-turn—and I probably never will. I had told my wife and daughter what I planned to do—with the caveat that Franklin would swim 100 yards and I’d only swim 50. My wife said I was stupid. My 8-year-old daughter, a competitive swimmer, was not hopeful.

“I know you tell me to visualize, Daddy,” she said, “but I don’t think this is going to work out for you.”

But you’ll still root for me?

“Oh, no,” she said. “I’m with Missy.”

With that in my mind, I climbed atop the block next to Missy. Then we were off….