Commonwealth gold for Halsall and O’Connor in Glasgow

27th July 2014

Fran Halsall won her tenth Commonwealth Games medal with gold in the 50m Butterfly and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor secured her first championship title on another great night for English swimmers in Glasgow.

Having secured the 50m Freestyle title yesterday, Halsall set a British record 25.20 to win the 50m Butterfly and secure her tenth Commonwealth Games medal.

The 24-year old becomes the first female swimmer to complete the sprint double at a Commonwealth Games.

Halsall, who also qualified for tomorrow’s 100m Freestyle final, said: “I never thought I would get my tenth Commonwealth Games medal, that’s brilliant.

“Things are going really well and I’m really happy with that swim. I’ve just got so much confidence in my preparation and how I’m swimming. When I stand behind the blocks I know exactly what I’ve got to do.

“I’ve taken a lot from my season this year and hopefully I can take that into next season as well.”

Halsall’s Loughborough teammate Amy Smith posted a 26.24 personal best to finish just outside the medals in fourth.

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor dominated the 200m Individual Medley to win her first Commonwealth Games gold medal in a British record 2:08.21.

The 18-year old touched over two seconds ahead of world and Olympic silver medallist Alicia Coutts (2:10.30) to take her fifth medal of her debut Games.

O’Connor said: “I’ve had a really good week and things went my way today which is brilliant.

“I didn’t come into this meet thinking a gold medal was a realistic target because there were some amazing swimmers in that race, but I’ve trained so hard this year and that was the dream result.

“I was just one race away from making it a better week than I could have ever imagined and I’m absolutely over the moon to do it.”

Scotland’s Hannah Miley took the bronze medal in 2:10.74 while Middlesbrough’s Aimee Willmott was fourth (2:11.25) and O’Connor’s Bath teammate Sophie Allen was sixth (2:12.01).

Liam Tancock won his second bronze medal of the week with a season’s best 24.98 in the 50m Backstroke, with Chris Walker-Hebborn touching in 25.14 for fourth.

Tancock said the support of the crowd had helped to keep the team going: “It’s been an amazing crowd all week. They’ve come out to see some of the fastest nations in the world compete and have really helped to keep us all going.”

Lizzie Simmonds was edged out of the medals in the 200m Backstroke as she touched in 2:09.29 for fourth, while Lauren Quigley clocked a 2:09.51 PB to finish just behind in fifth.

A disappointed Simmonds said: “I’m pretty gutted to have finished fourth. It’s not the best place to finish but I think it’s been a massive learning curve to be here and to be back in this sort of international atmosphere.

“I am disappointed not have swum faster and not to have been in the medals, but that was a world class field tonight and there are definitely things to be learned.”

Elsewhere, Adam Brown and James Disney-May finished sixth (49.63) and eighth (49.96) respectively in the men’s 100m Freestyle, and the men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay team of Nicholas Grainger, Lewis Coleman, Joshua Walsh and James Guy finished fourth in 7:12.66.

In the women’s 100m Freestyle semi-final Amy Smith (55.77) and Rebecca Turner (55.95) just missed out on qualifying after touching for ninth and eleventh.

Turner said: “All I could really do was go out there hard and try and bring it home, but I really struggled in the final 50m. I’ve got the 400m on Tuesday so will try and get near my PB and make the final.”

Adam Peaty shaved 0.01 seconds off his morning heat swim to set a new 26.99 British standard in the 50m Breaststroke semi-final.

Peaty said: “It makes all the difference going below 27 seconds for the first time. It’s a great crowd and they really pushed me to that. When it comes to tomorrow I think it’s anybody’s race and will be down to whoever wants it the most.”  

Adam Barrett goes through to the 100m Butterfly final as fastest qualifier following a great swim that saw him take over half a second off his PB to touch in 52.00. James Guy clocked 52.78 for sixth.

Sophie Taylor also gave a strong semi-final performance posting 1:07.20 in the 100m Breaststroke to go through as the second faster swimmer.