Halsall scoops Bronze on final day in Barcelona

4th August 2013

Fran Halsall won the 50m Freestyle bronze on the final day of the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.

Having qualified in fourth for the final, the Loughborough Sprint Squad swimmer set the third fastest 50m Freestyle time of her career to reach the podium in 24.30.

Halsall was one of three British swimmers to narrowly miss medals over the opening seven days in Spain, finishing fourth in the 50m Butterfly after Jazz Carlin and Andrew Willis had done the same over 400m Freestyle and 200m Breaststroke respectively.

But the 23-year old wasn’t to be denied in her favourite event, touching behind Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo (24.05) and Australia’s 100m Free champion Cate Campbell (24.14) for the second World Championship medal of her career.

And while Halsall was claiming a medal at a major long course meet for the first time since 2010, the Brit insisted she had her sights set on the top spot of the podium.

“A medal is nice but I wanted the gold so it’s a little bittersweet really,” said Halsall, who won her first World medal with 100m Freestyle silver in 2009.

“I knew it was really close right at the end. I’m happy to be on the podium but I really wanted to win it.

“I’ve been getting better and better to that 15m mark and I’ve been really been working on my start with James [Gibson, Halsall’s coach].

“My start has been coming down and down this season. I knew Ranomi next to me is a great starter so I just used her but I was spinning by the end.”

Having also waited until the final day for her main event, Hannah Miley finished fifth in the 400m Individual Medley.

The defending silver medallist set a season’s best 4:34.16 in the final but was always playing catch up with Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (4:30.41), Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia (4:31.21) and USA's Elizabeth Beisel (4:31.69) who claimed the podium places.

“I'm fifth again but it is faster than what I did at the Olympics which I can’t complain about,” said Miley.

“It’s not the result that everybody wants and I hate disappointing people and it’s a disappointment for me as well to come away without a medal.

“The time I did in Shanghai wouldn’t have won a medal this time round. The sport of swimming is moving on rapidly so I’ve got to do something to address that moving into my short course season.

“Obviously I’ll be wanting to make that improvement in the long course pool in the years leading up to Rio.”

Competing at her first World Championships, Middlesbrough's Aimee Willmott was just 0.66 seconds shy of making the final as she finished ninth overall from the 400m IM heats in 4:38.43.

Dan Wallace impressed in his first World Championship final, finishing seventh in the 400m Individual Medley with a Scottish record.

The Warrender swimmer became just the third Brit to duck under 4:14 minutes over 400m IM as he touched in 4:13.72 in the final with Japan’s Daiya Seto (4:08.69) taking gold ahead of USA’s Chase Kalisz (4:09.22) and Brazil’s Thiago Pereira (4:09.48).

“To swim another PB is great,” said Wallace. “I knew I could go slightly faster than this morning so I’m really happy I was able to do that.

“I’ve been swimming really well this year and all these PBs give me plenty of confidence for Glasgow next year.

“It felt great walking out for my first final. It gives you a real buzz and the atmosphere was great.”

British Gas ITC Loughborough swimmer Roberto Pavoni was ninth from the morning heats in 4:15.81 - just 0.09 seconds off the top eight positions.

Pavoni’s training partner Dan Fogg was also in action on the final day, competing in the 1500m Freestyle final.

The English record holder – who has also competed the 10km open water and 800m Freestyle in Barcelona – replicated his result from London 2012 last year to finish eighth in 15:05.92.

“The minimum requirement for me was to make the final and then I’d push on from there,” said Fogg.

“Considering what I’ve had to go through over the last few weeks with tapering, racing at trials, trying to train and taper again for a 10km, then 800m, then two 1500ms, I was over the moon to just make that final.

“Obviously I wanted to go quicker tonight and try and finish further up but obviously it’s been a tough slog and it wasn’t quite possible tonight.”

The British quartet of Lauren Quigley (Stockport Metro), Sophie Allen (British Gas ITC Bath), Jemma Lowe (British Gas ITC Swansea) and Halsall were the final Brits to compete in Barcelona, finishing sixth in the 4x100m Medley Relay.

The Brits improved on their heat time to clock 3:58.67 with USA taking gold on 3:53.23 ahead of Australia (3:55.22) and Russia (3:56.47).

The men's quartet of Chris Walker-Hebborn (British Gas ITC Bath), Ross Murdoch (British Gas ITC Stirling), Michael Rock (City of Liverpool) and Adam Brown (Hatfield) narrowly missed out on qualifying for the final as they finished ninth in the heats, 0.32 seconds off the qualification spots in 3:35.23.