Doha World Championships: Fran Halsall prepares for global glory after stellar year


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The Independent Online

This year Fran Halsall has won four medals for  England at the Commonwealth Games and five more for Great Britain at the European Championships. It is suprising  to hear her say there were aspects of her displays that “annoyed” her.

Yet as she prepares for next week’s short-course World Championships in Doha, the 24-year-old insists that the negatives were a good thing, and she is confident the work she is doing in those areas with her new coach James Gibson at Loughborough will lead to further medals over the crucial period ahead, which includes the 2015 long -course World Championships in Kazan and 2016 Rio de  Janeiro Olympics.

“If someone had told me at the start of the year I would come away with nine medals in total from the  Commonwealth Games and European Championships, I would have said there was no chance,” she said.

“So the fact that happened was amazing. But there are still a lot of things to work on and a lot of things I was a bit annoyed about with my races. And that is also a good thing, because it means I can get  better and swim faster.

“I was not doing some of my processes right in my races.”

Halsall emphasised the impact Gibson has made for her since joining after the 2012 London Olympics.

She said: “The main difference has been I have had a different coach since London and worked very closely with him. James and I have a  good relationship.” 

Among her podium finishes over the past few months, Halsall secured the Commonwealth 50 metres butterfly title in Glasgow, the European 50m backstroke gold medal in Berlin and was crowned 50m freestyle champion at  both competitions.

That added to an impressive CV boasting bronze and silver  medals from long-course World Championships (Barcelona 2013 and Rome 2009 respectively) but no gold at that level and one missing an Olympic medal.

Asked about the prospect of gaining a first long-course World gold or Olympic medal, Halsall said: “I think the results this summer for me showed that I am on the  right track.

“I think the fact I have been around for a while helps a lot, because I know what’s good and what’s not good for me and I’m pretty mature in that sense now.

“I do think there is still a lot more to come from me and I am hoping I am just going to get faster and faster.

“If I keep working on my processes the way I have been, then I’m feeling good about the next couple of seasons.”