Fran Halsall set the fastest 100m freestyle time of 2012 last night, on the way to becoming number one in the event’s world rankings, winning the final at the British Gas Swimming Championships.
The European Champion managed to hold on to her lead as Amy Smith fought back against her in the final length, and took the title well within the qualification standard after touching in 53.57. “It was an okay race,” said Halsall afterwards, ”I actually expected to go a little bit faster than that tonight but to get on the team and do a time that was such a small margin of my time from the worlds in the summer is great.
“I’m in such good form at the moment so if I can carry that through to the Olympic Games, hopefully I can swim a bit faster there and get another medal
“I think I was a bit more relaxed tonight. I had a bit more fun with it all which is something I never usually get to do with the 100m Freestyle because it’s my main focus.
“But tonight the pressure was off because I’d already qualified.
“I had to make top four to get on the relay team but other than that, there wasn’t really any pressure so it was nice to be
able to swim like that.”
Smith also met the required time to win the silver medal in 54.01, a new personal best for the Loughborough University swimmer. Rebecca Turner came in third securing her spot on the Olympic relay squad, finishing in 54.83.
Elsewhere, Stacey Tadd became the 21st British swimmer to confirm an individual place at the Olympics by claiming victory over 15 year old Molly Renshaw.
Tadd was chasing a new personal best last night to achieve the Olympic qualification standard in the final of the 200m Breastroke final and took gold in a lifetime best of 2.26.63.
“It was a great race and I’m over the moon,” said Tadd. “It hasn’t quite sunk in just yet but I’m sure it will do later when I see my parents – they’ll be dead chuffed.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the time. I couldn’t have hoped for much better really tonight. Obviously Molly came back really, really fast. I didn’t notice but I knew she would do that so I just had to hang on in there.”
Lizzie Flint, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine