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World medals for Halsall and Lowe as Brits finish on a high

16th December 2012

Francesca Halsall and Jemma Lowe scooped final day medals as the British Gas GBR Swimming Team ended the 2012 World Short Course Championships in Istanbul with six medals from the five-day meet.

Halsall, competing in her only individual event of the Championships, stormed home to silver in the 50m Freestyle less than 30 minutes after Lowe had struck her second medal of the week with 100m Butterfly bronze.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in this situation and remembered how brilliant it is and that it’s what I love to do.

Having qualified joint fourth fastest, Halsall sliced more than half a second off her qualification time to claim silver in 23.87 behind Belarus’ Aliaksandra Herasimenia.

And after beating respective long and short course 100m Freestyle world champions Jeanette Ottesen Gray and Britta Steffen in the final, the British Gas ITC Loughborough swimmer admitted the result had proved a big confidence boost ahead of the 2013 season.

“It’s a nice feeling to get a medal again and be in amongst it,” said Halsall, who finished fifth in the 50m Free and sixth in the 100m Free at London 2012.

“After a tough summer and a bit of a confidence knock, it’s good to come here and get a medal. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.

“I knew I was swimming fast because my 100 relay split was 51.9 the other night. Doing the relay first helped because it got me into the meet and racing again with a bit of confidence.

“I had a bit of a ropey day yesterday because I was a bit tired but I just wanted to get out tonight and enjoy it. I wanted to enjoy the crowd and being in this kind of situation again.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in this situation and remembered how brilliant it is and that it’s what I love to do. I’m back to being me again now.”

Having captured 200m Butterfly bronze on the opening day of the Championships, British Gas ITC Swansea swimmer Lowe took 0.01 off her Welsh record to repeat the feat over half the distance.

I just gave it my best tonight because I knew it was going to be a real fight.

The 22-year old came home in 56.66 to win the eighth international short course medal of her career behind Italy’s Ilaria Bianchi (56.13) and China’s Liu Zige (56.58).

“I’m over the moon with that result,” said Lowe. “It’s my best time by 0.01 which is only a little bit but a best time is a best time.

“We had only started speed work in training for a week before this competition so I wasn’t sure how my speed was going to be but I knew my 200 was good because I did a best time in that.

“I just gave it my best tonight because I knew it was going to be a real fight.

“Obviously I said I haven’t rested much for this and I’m really positive about how I’m doing now. So I’m going to get back into training, keep doing what I’m doing – thinking positive and really enjoying myself. I’m looking forward to next year.”

Lowe’s British Gas ITC Swansea teammate and training partner Georgia Davies was just 0.06 seconds shy of landing her first World Championship medal as she finished fourth in the 50m Backstroke.

This is a World Championships and although it’s short course, fourth is a great position to finish.

Having set a British record 26.84 to progress from last night’s semi finals, Davies lowered the marker to 26.56 but was touched out of the podium places by Poland’s Aleksandra Urbanczyk in third.

“Fourth sucks but I’m really thrilled with the time,” said Davies, who was fifth in the 100m Backstroke earlier in the meet.

“It’s quicker than I expected. This is a World Championships and although it’s short course, fourth is a great position to finish.

“I went into the 100 final thinking I could sneak a medal and then it didn’t quite happen and I didn’t go as quickly as I wanted to.

“But I love the 50. It’s such a fun race with no tactics and you go all out from the start and I didn’t put any pressure on myself to get any place or position.

“I’m sure I’m not ready to swim PBs long course just yet but this meet has definitely raised my confidence ready for a tough bit of training now for the new season and trials for the World Champs in the summer.”

With two medals for Hannah Miley (400m IM gold, 200m IM bronze) and another for Michael Jamieson (200m Breaststroke silver), the British Gas GBR Swimming Team finished their campaign with six medals and Head Coach Dave McNulty insisted the team had surpassed his expectations at the meet.

“I’m really pleased with the set of results from this Championships,” said McNulty.

“I would have been happy with two, three or four medals but to come away with six is fantastic.

“I really wanted the swimmers to have more belief and that ‘can do’ attitude and I’ve been very impressed with them this week.”

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