A giggle pot of gold
6th December 2011 - Scottish Daily Express
Fran Halsall laughs at almost everything she says but there is no doubt how serious she is about winning Olympic gold.
The swimming star had surgery earlier this year to cure a nagging ankle problem and two fourth places at the World Championships in July have only added to her conviction that 2012 will be her year.
I was the second fastest swimmer in the race, but came fourth because my starts and turns were probably the second worst.
Because of the surgery, her training was put back six weeks so, when it came to the 50m and 100m freestyle finals in Shanghai, she knew something was lacking.
She twice missed out on a medal by 0.04secs, a time that the performance analysts at Britain’s swimming headquarters at Loughborough have worked out she can make up without going any faster on top of the water.
“They analysed everyone in my final for their speed, starts and turns," said Halsall.
"I was the second fastest swimmer in the race, but came fourth because my starts and turns were probably the second worst.
"And boy, have the coaches been working me on that in training."
Halsall’s options for the Olympics are almost too great. She is also strong in the butterfly and backstroke, but at the trials in the Olympic pool next spring she is targeting the 50m and 100m free and the 100m butterfly. Add a few relays and she could be a multiple medal-winner.
The Beijing Olympics, where she made three finals, have provided her with the perfect preparation.
“Beijing was the most important experience I could have had,” she said. “There is nothing like being in the surreal bubble of an Olympic Games and living in the [athletes’] village.
“Unless you have been there, I don’t know if you can understand it. When we get the call 10 minutes before the race there is something in the atmosphere totally different from any other event.