Fran Halsall, 24.48, 11th Dash Crown: “Not About GB Champion But Olympic Champion”

Fran Halsall in a spray of speed on her way to victory in Glasgow today - by Ian MacNicol

Fran Halsall, fourth at London 2012 by a whisker in the 50m freestyle, Commonwealth and European champion and until yesterday the fastest ever in a textile suit, won her 11th British one-lap title in 24.48, 0.11sec shy of instant gratification. She was asked by a brave or foolish soul: “How do you feel about being British champion again?” The answer: “It’s not about being a British champion, it’s about being an Olympic champion.”

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Halsall’s stroke rate slowed visibly in the last five metres. It looked like she deliberately eased off. Did she misjudge?

Craig Lord

Perhaps but tomorrow I’ll offer a different explanation Ger…


I will be interested to see that Craig. I also thought she appeared to ease off at the end, but there was no logical reason for this, and she was clearly very upset post-race.


I’ve written this in the other article:

Many people are underestimating how hard it is to go 23. So far, only 3 swimmers have done it in textile, C1, Halsall and Sjostrom, and only C1 has done it more than once (3 times). Kromowidjojo (current 50 free Olympics champion) and C2 (current 50 free World champion) have never even gone 23. It is too optimistic to expect Halsall to swim 23 again, unless she has perfect swim.


Breaking 24 is incredibly difficult. The expectation is always there though. Its like people expecting Usain bolt to run on his world record all the time.

Conditions affect the outcome of a sprint in a huge way. Water too cold, water too hot, slow reaction time, slight angle difference in dive, misjudging a breakout.

As a challenge to the readers, take out your stopwatch, or phone, and try start and stop .24 of a second. See how quick it takes to make that movement. Now think of that small amount over 24 seconds. It would be 1 split second (try get that on a stopwatch) every second.

To go even further, how many stroke cycles does one take? lets say 48. Thats 2 strokes per second of the race (not really, need to account for time spent off blocks and under the water, but for argument’s sake).

2 strokes per second, and 1 ms of error per 1 second of a race means 0.5 of a ms per stroke.

If your stroke is off by even the smallest of margins, then you are going to be way off.

You can, of course extrapolate my train of thought to how many kicks, underwaters, breathes (thats always my favourite) head position causing drag, even as far as weight is concerned, being 0.5kgs more, while only exerting the same force will lead to a reduction in performance.

Obviously I understand the notion of “thats why you have training” to practice, This small explanation was just to indicate a point that a 50 is all about on the day, when its at that level.

Alex Mason

I have to say I don’t know whether to be happy for Fran or sad for the state of freestyle sprinting on the women’s side of British Swimming.

Fran is clearly a unique talent. This is the 11th straight British Championship she has claimed in the 50. But its not even a closely contested battle. She is way out in front. She won this one by nearly a second. That is a yawning chasm in the world of the 1 length dash.

The depth of British female sprint freestylers seems to be a pool of one and that is worrying.

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