Team GB's Fran Halsall confident Olympic gold is within reach

 

Team GB's Fran Halsall has said that she can win gold medals in all of her individual events at London 2012.

Her first outing in the 100m butterfly proved a disappointment as she failed to make the final but tonight she has the first opportunity to make amends in the 100m freestyle.

The 22-year-old’s training group, under Ben Titley at Loughborough, is known for trying anything in their bid to improve in the pool, with activities ranging from ballet to kickboxing.

And in the sprint disciplines where the margin of victory is decided by the narrowest of touches, Halsall has taken the novel approach of growing her nails in a bid to improve her chances.

“It’s important that I get the touch on the wall first and I’ve been growing my nails to get there first,” she said. “I want to go out tonight and give it my best shot. I’ll be there or thereabouts gritting my teeth but I want the win. I’m in the final and that’s all that matters. Plus I’ve got more to give.”

Halsall admits that she has not found her best form at these Games, unlike the trials where she flourished, and said she had “felt horrible” during the earlier rounds.

But last night she looked more at ease in the pool as she clocked the fifth quickest qualifying time for the final. “I expected it to be all butterflies and rainbows but it’s not been,” she said of her Olympic experience to date. “I need to go fast to get it out of my system.”

Halsall, whose boyfriend Alastair Wilson was in action for the Great Britain hockey team in their 2-2 draw against South Africa yesterday, admitted she had been inspired in her heats by watching other Olympians in action.

“I watched the cycling on the telly and had a tweet from one of the rowers,” she said. “Watching Bradley Wiggins in the time trial, I was just like ‘oh my God, this is incredible’. It’s just so nice to be a part of something like this.”

Going into these Games, Halsall had been expected to contribute to the medal table while 200m breaststroke swimmer Michael Jamieson had not.

But the Scot, whose final was shown on the big screens at Celtic Park ahead of the club’s 2-1 Champions League qualifying victory over HJK Helsinki, took silver and narrowly missed out on gold and the world record behind Hungarian Daniel Gyurta.

It was a first British male medal in the pool for eight years and a first silver by the men since Paul Palmer in Atlanta in 1996.

“I know I have more to give,” said Jamieson, who will now target gold in Rio de Janiero in 2016. “I knew last night I was capable of winning it. But I’m just delighted I swum so close.”

Andrew Willis, despite strong swims in the heats and semi-finals, faded badly in the final to finish last but, like Jamieson, set his sights on Rio and the next Commonwealth Games.

Joining Halsall in tonight’s finals is fellow Briton James Goddard, who ran a measured race to qualify from his 200m individual medley semi-final behind American duo Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

A British medal looks unlikely in such a world-class field but Goddard said: “Anything can happen in an Olympic final and I’m in it to win it.”

 

The eight finalists:

1 A Herasimenia Belarus 53.78

2 J Ottesen Gray Denmark 53.77

3 M Franklin USA 53.59

4 R Kromowidjojo Neth’lands 53.05

5 M Schlanger Australia 53.38

6 Y Tang China 53.60

7 F Halsall Gt Britain 53.77

8 J Hardy USA 53.86

  • Watch Fran Halsall  in tonight’s final of the 100m freestyle at 8.37pm (BBC1)
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific