Swimming: Halsall leads from the front to add to Britain gold tally

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The Independent Online

Fran Halsall won Great Britain's third gold medal of the European Championships in the 100 metres freestyle in Budapest last night.

The 20-year-old led from start to finish to take the title in 53.58 seconds ahead of Aliaksandra Herasimenia, of Belarus, and Holland's Femke Heerskerk. It was the first of two medals for Britain yesterday, with Joe Roebuck taking bronze in the 200m individual medley.

Halsall's victory was especially impressive given she had not rested for the meet and was up against rivals who were in peak condition, with the British swimmers focusing on the Commonwealth Games in October.

The Southport-born swimmer was second at last year's World Championships and in the absence of Britta Steffen, winner in Rome, and world-ranked No1 Ranomi Kromowidjojo through illness, Halsall was one of the favourites. She delivered from lane three to claim her second medal of the week following her silver in the freestyle relay.

Halsall said: "I went out quick, that's my strength and I have to work to it, then I dug in and held on. It feels really good to win the Europeans this year, a couple of girls were missing who I'd like to have raced but there's time for that in the next two years. I've got to get up tomorrow morning and keep my composure for the rest of the week before I get excited. But I am actually ridiculously excited about it."

Roebuck pulled out a storming final 50m to take third in the 200m individual medley in a race won by Laszlo Cseh in a championship record of 1:57.73. Fifth after the final turn, the Briton produced the second fastest freestyle leg of 28.68sec to take a dramatic bronze.

He said: "I'd hoped for that, it was a little bit faster than last night. This is the first time I've done it on the big stage, I'm going to take it in and enjoy it."