Halsall snatches gold at Mare Nostrum in Barcelona
6 June 2011
Fran Halsall sealed an emphatic sprint freestyle gold as British Gas GBR swimmers scooped 10 medals at the opening Mare Nostrum meet in Barcelona.
The 21-year old clocked a season’s best 25.01 for victory in the 50m Freestyle in Spain, touching home more than half a second clear of Russia’s Svetlana Fedulova in silver.
Halsall’s British Gas ITC Loughborough teammates showed a strong hand in Barcelona, accounting for six of the other nine medals through Jo Jackson, Liam Tancock, Lizzie Simmonds and Ross Davenport.
Olympic bronze medallist Jackson shone brightest with silver medals and season’s bests in both the 200m and 400m Freestyle.
The 24-year old set her quickest 200m Freestyle time since the 2009 World Championships in Rome, eventually touching in 1:58.55 – an effort which would have won gold at March’s British Gas Championships in Manchester.
The following day Jackson clocked 4:08.76 in the 400m Freestyle, beaten only by Hungary’s 18-year old Youth Olympic champion Boglarka Kapas.
World champion Tancock took silver in the 50m Backstroke (25.35) and bronze in the 100m Backstroke (55.09) while European champion Simmonds set season’s bests for bronze in the 200m Backstroke (2:08.61) and fifth in the 100m Backstroke (1:00.55).
Finally, Davenport sealed bronze in the 200m Freestyle, touching home in 1:50.00.
Great Britain’s other medals came from Beckenham’s Ellen Gandy, British Gas ITC Bath’s Michael Jamieson and British Gas ITC Stockport’s Keri-anne Payne.
Commonwealth and European medallist Gandy set 58.82 for 100m Butterfly silver, Commonwealth silver medallist Jamieson touched in 2:12.83 for 200m Breaststroke silver while Olympic 10km marathon silver medallist Payne won 200m Individual Medley bronze in 2:13.99.
Other impressive performances came from Bath University/Team Bath’s Stacey Tadd and British Gas ITC Bath’s Chris Walker-Hebborn.
Double British champion Tadd set personal bests on the way to fourth in both the 100m Breaststroke (1:09.79) and 200m Breaststroke (2:27.93), breaking her own English record in the latter.
Meanwhile, Walker-Hebborn clocked season’s bests en route to fourth and fifth place finishes in the 100m Backstroke (55.30) and 200m Backstroke (1:59.01) respectively.
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