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Halsall storms to world silver

31 July 2009

British Gas GBR swimmer Fran Halsall impressed on her way to winning the silver medal in the women’s 100m Freestyle final as she swam under 53 seconds for the first time in her career.

The Olympian got a good start and turned in third place at the 50m mark behind Libby Trickett (Australia) and Britta Steffen (Germany).

Steffen, who held the world record going into the final, was in second place behind Trickett at the turn but it was Halsall that had the best finish.

"I was dreaming of a medal but to win silver in such a fast time is amazing," - Fran HalsallThe British record holder stormed through the final 50m as she over took Olympic medallist Trickett to win the silver medal in a new British record time of 52.87.

“I can’t believe it,” Halsall said. “I was dreaming of a medal but to win silver in such a fast time is amazing.

“I just saw Britta’s wave and thought if I am on that I’ll be there or there abouts. I turned to myself and said it is your last individual event and I just gave it all my heart. My arms were failing but I just wouldn’t give in.

“This is just the most amazing moment for me, I am ecstatic. I am only 19 years old and I hope my best years are ahead of me but it is looking good for London off the back of that swim.

“The whole spirit on this British team is amazing, it is infectious and you are seeing the results of that.”

Steffen won the gold medal in a new world record time of 52.07 and Trickett took bronze behind Halsall in 52.93.

The semi-finals of the women’s 200m Backstroke saw Elizabeth Simmonds break the British record after touching in a new personal best time of 2:07.21.

Simmonds took the race out from the start and knew she had to get a quick time under belt in order to make the final.

She led throughout the race and touched home in first place in her semi-final after knocking over a second off her personal best. She qualified as the third fastest athlete for the final.

“I had a disappointing swim this morning but that certainly made up for it,” Simmonds said. “I got my head in gear this afternoon and just went for it.

“I went out fast and was desperately trying to hold on but I didn’t think it was going to be that fast," - Lizzie Simmonds“I went out fast and was desperately trying to hold on but I didn’t think it was going to be that fast.”

World 100m Backstroke Champion Gemma Spofforth qualified for the final after finishing in second place behind Simmonds in a time of 2:07.64. She goes into the final ranked in fifth place.

“To have Lizzie alongside you before the race takes all the nerves away and I am so happy we both made it through tonight,” Spofforth said. “We both had two impressive swims and it will be good to be there in the final.”

The men’s 4x200m Freestyle relay saw the British Gas team lower the British record as they swam a good race and finished in seventh place in a world record breaking final.

Robbie Renwick, who broke the British record for the 200m Freestyle in the heats, showed his strength again as he became the first British man to swim under 1:46 seconds. He finished his leg in a new British record time of 1:45.99 as he gave the team a good start.

Robert Bale took the second leg and swam to a new personal best of 1:47.18 and David Carry took over for the British Gas team.

Former British record holder Carry swam a good 200m as he swam to a career best after finishing in 1:46.41.

Ross Davenport was the anchor for the team and he brought the Brits home in a new British record time of 7:05.67 as they took seventh place overall.

The gold was won in a new world record time of 6:58.55 by the American team. Russia took the silver in a time of 6:59.15 and bronze went to Australia in 7:01.65.

Michael Rock, who competed in his first major international final in the 200m Butterfly earlier in the week, lowered his British record for the second time in the men’s 100m Butterfly semi-finals.

The Olympian lowered his own British record to 51.65 in this morning’s heats and swam another good race as he touched in a time of 51.41 to lower the national standard further.

Rock came up against tough competition for a final place from Olympic silver medallist Milorad Cavic (Serbia) and world record holder Michael Phelps. Cavic went into the second semi-final and broke Phelps’ world record and Rock was pushed down the leader board to 13th place overall.

“That was all I could do,” Rock said. “I had to do a best time and break the British record to give myself the chance and I’ve done that.

“For me there is another 100m to go as I’m a 200m swimmer, but that shows there’s a future for me in the shorter distance.”

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