Set For First race Test, Fran Halsall Eyes Manchester Move After Rio 2016 Olympics

Fran Halsall of Great Britain by Patrick B. Kraemer

European and Commonwealth sprint champion Fran Halsall may move her training base from Loughborough to Manchester in the wake of the London 2012 Olympic Games, she revealed on the cusp of the Manchester International Swim Meet this weekend

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European and Commonwealth sprint champion Fran Halsall may move her training base from Loughborough to Manchester in the wake of the London 2012 Olympic Games, she revealed on the cusp of the Manchester International Swim Meet this weekend



Will be interesting to see how Halsall shapes up next season. Fran 2014 vintage is fighting it out for gold with the likes of the Campbells, Sjostrom & Kromowidjojo in the 50FS. The 2015 vintage was a level and a half below.

It appears over the past couple of years that she has decided to put all her eggs in the 50 basket with the 100 no longer being considered seriously. This is not particularly going to harm GBR prospects as they will not be entering a W4X100 relay and GBR has concerns on other legs of the W4XMED without getting to her.

She’s been someone who’s been “thereabouts but not quite there” at the past two Olympics. I’m certainly not ruling her out of calculations for the 50free in Rio.


I am. 2014 was her year. Wont medal in Rio. Olympics is a different story.

Craig Lord

Gosh – what an easy thing to do, Felix, to rule someone out from a nameless afar; to give a thumbs down to the work and effort and hopes of a swimmer who puts in huge amounts of effort season after season. It might be hurtful but for the fact she surely doesn’t care one bit for the words of nameless people who seem to think it reasonable to judge from the sidelines with no knowledge of the specific phases of the life of the swimmer being ruled out. On that basis, Katinka Hosszu won’t be medalling either, given that she’s been to three and come away medalless…


I think that GBR will find it difficult to “defend” their Kazan triumphs in Rio. Peaty is by far the strongest candidate to do so but in no way do I see him the “lock” for gold that the likes of Ledecky (W400/800), USA W4X200, AUS W4X100 appear at this point.

Guy & the M 4X200 could most certainly pick up gold in Rio but these races are likely to be a significant step up in Rio and the “place”/medal bet is probably the safer option.

SMOC has to be seen as a very strong medal contender in W200IM but can her other events also rise to their 2014 levels ?

Murdoch has to be considered a medal chance in M100BRS but that events looks to be Peaty & VDB fighting out the major prize and a rugby scrum fighting over the left-over prize

I see Halsall as GBR’s strongest hope for anyone outside their Kazan medallists to potentially enter the medal picture in Rio. That 2014 time was appreciably quicker than the winning time in Kazan and anything swum in 2015. That’s still recent enough to have current relevance in my book. If it had been 2013 with 2 “moderate” seasons following then I might be less positive.

Willis is a maybe but for minor coin at best.

Miley cannot be completely excluded but I’ve just never been quite convinced she’s quite “there” and I fear her best chances have already passed.

Craig Lord

KL is the only true lock; she is in a unique place. All the rest among clean swimmers fall shy of that sure-fire status, Commonwombat. Of the rest of the best, I’d put Adam Peaty right up there, having seen his 57.92 and watched his 58.1… he has a definitive edge. has stacked up every time under pressure and is the right age for further gains, too.

Bad Anon

We saw Fran’s star really shining at the Glasgow Commonwealth games. She does have the muscle memory and will put in the work to get to that level moreso in an Olympic year. 50free will be incredibly competitive, 24 flat, the minimum time to medal ; C1, C2, Ranomi as her main protagonists… We just hope the Olympic gods will be smiling at her lane and she remembers to keep her head down at the finish 😉


Fair points, Craig, and it’s certainly true to say (1) if there is such a thing as a sure bet KL is that in the 400/800 and (2) even those considered “impregnable” can still fall due to their own human factors.

My rationale for those “locks” are:

– they have clear gaps of multiple seconds on the field and this has been demonstrated over a period of years.

– there is currently no competitor that at this point is clearly narrowing that gap or looking like doing so

– the only visible routes to their demise appear to be self-inflicted; ie illness/injury or breaks in the case of relays.

With regards to Peaty, his fastest times most certainly would elevate him into that category BUT the 100BRS final in Kazan and the extremely narrow margin has given me reason to pause on that.

His position, in my mind, is “on par” with the likes of a number of others such as Seebohm who may be justifiably seen as favourites for gold at this point BUT their margin over the field is far from insurmountable. You’d probably put them on the “next row of betting” in horse racing terminology.

People are most certainly welcome to disagree

Craig Lord

I wouldn’t disagree with that, CWombat


Craig not often do I disagree with you but your argument is nonsense. Season after season of hard work… what? Will not every elite swimmer in Rio have done that? Does that mean they all deserve a medal? No it doesn’t. Hosszu, seriously. She has absolutely dominated medley the past few years. Her 200 this year would’ve been the equivalent to Halsall winning the 50 by half a second in which case I would say she’s favourite. Halsall however was never in it, not even close. 1 year out. Isn’t happening and now I will happily remind you in 10 months time.

Wombat as I said earlier this week a fully fit Agnel wins that 200, Craig, Sun is dominant in the 400 I would call him a lock, no one is beating him. Men’s 4×200……USA will be a very different team in Rio, will certainly be the team to beat and Miley, no medal for her, has never been technically good enough at that level.

Craig Lord

Felix, my point was about you dismissing anyone, including Fran Halsall, in quite such blatant fashion. (of course many are working hard etc… but none have clocked 23.96 to beat Cate Campbell… ) I see those kind of comments in blogs in many realms – and it seems somewhat cowardly and unneccesary, to be honest. I just think you went too far when judging a 23.96 swimmer who shares the swiftest time we’ve ever seen unaided by a suit.
On Hosszu – she has dominated this summer in the 200m because she leapt ahead off the chart; she was not in the same place a year ago, at 2sec slower over 200m … I would not call her dominant over 400m medley, especially having watched her try in various ways to get to that Ye record… if she could not break 4:30 this summer off a 2:06.1.
I wouldn’t call Sun a lock – much could happen yet, to him and others…
‘Miley has never been technically good enough at that level’ – there you go again, I just don’t think that’s a valid judgment for a world l/c championship silver medallist who was off her best for a very specific reason this past season in Kazan.
I’ve seen comments like that about Cate Campbell, Hosszu and a fair few others, including Chad le Clos, down the years before they changed their status. I just don’t think it wise (nor very fair) to be so dismissive of people who are among the very best there have ever been.
And as a journalist, I avoid that kind of stuff not just to be kind but for professional reasons … you can’t talk to, interview nor write about someone in quite the same way ever again once you’ve written them off; not a good place.


Gentlemen, I see that most of comments at this forum will be about predictions no matter how far we are from the beginning of OG. Since they are predictions then by definition there is no way to disapprove or approve them by some reasoning or argument. The most frequent words in such comments, I predict 🙂 , will be “nonsense”, “absurd”, “stupid”, “dilatant” or so, making the “personal” argument the most powerful one. There is no defense against such strong statements but using same tactics in response. To keep it peaceful I’m suggesting to make it interesting. Let’s make bets. Let set prizes like giving away numbers of yearly gold and silver memberships, awarding with some Swimvortex honorable title, giving a signed poster with smiling Craig Lord and swimvortex logo etc.
The betting system can be very simple with a few major rules.
1. The father in time from event the prediction is made the more valuable it is. The number of points for correct prediction will be much lesser if it is done a week prior event than if it was made six month earlier.
2. The number of bets should be limited. Players start with some limited amount of virtual money that allow him/her betting on different but limited number of events.
3. If the prediction is correct then the gain will depend on number of successful bets for this event. Let’s say the prediction of gold medal for KL at 800 will add almost nothing.
4. If there was a correction on earlier made prediction then there would be some penalties.
It doesn’t matter how imperfect such system can be. It is for fun and for opportunity to express your opinion without insulting someone else’s feeling.
The monitoring of the process can be done on satellite to the swimvortex website. I can offer my help with that.


Felix, I wish I could have your sure fire certitude about these outcomes. We’ve still got to see who actually qualifies for their relative countries in some of these events; which in some cases could be highly competitive

I’ll agree that the M4X200 podium in Rio is likely to be considerably different to that in Kazan. USA are likely to be far more formidable but then again so are FRA and potentially a number of European nations. I never said that the Brits are favourites; rather that I would not rule them out especially for a medal.

Sun’s damned good and I would not debate him being seen as favourite. He does not have the several seconds break on the field to really justify being seen as a “lock” on gold. At this point, the M200FS looks a lottery. The past two years in this event have been “slow” (no-one breaking 1.45). It should be quicker next year; we’ll just have to see who’s going fast next year and who isn’t.

Re Halsall, she was not on the medal pace this year but neither was she significantly off it as she still made the final at Worlds. Had she missed the final, then those would’ve been far stronger grounds for scepticism. By no means was I saying she’s a medal favourite; merely that she’s someone I still believe COULD be a legitimate contender.


I agree that it will very hard for GBR to win medals in a Rio anywhere close to their Kazan haul.

First, their Kazan golds/medals were boosted by the.. Ahem.. Mixed relays.

Second, James Guy took advantage of a clearly weakened 200 free field in Kazan. By no means I am saying that his gold is devalued, it’s not his fault that most top 200 freestylers were not there: Hagino, Fraser-Holmes, Phelps, Agnel, Tae Hwan, just on top of my head. It will be mightily different story in Rio men’s 200 free. And when was the last time men 200 free was won in 1:45 in global championships? 2005?

By extension, same thing happened in men 4×200. When was the last time a 7:04 was enough to win gold? Same year, 2005.

These are none of the faults of the Brits, they did a great job regardless of who were there. But unfortunately for them, Rio may present much greater challenge especially in the events where then won golds/medals, with probably Peaty as the exception.

Craig Lord

Yes to those points aswimfan – and GBR head coach and others are well aware of it and continue to say ‘no counting chickens – Olympic year stands alone as the next test regardless of what’s gone before’ (words to that effect in several versions).
I think it fair to note with James Guy that he did what he did at 19 and is very much an athlete on the move. Kazan will have surely helped boost confidence on the way to the goals he and his coaches and those working most closely with him have in mind.
It will be a question of being at best (and a new best) when it most counts. My point on Fran Halsall and Felix stands: she is a 23.96 swimmer and to say ‘she won’t medal’ takes a stance and an attitude that I would not wish to take; way too dismissive. If she can produce her best on the day, she will medal, in my view. The rest I leave to the article on the British selection policy…

Craig Lord

If we go down this line, Yozhik, I hereby promise not to issue posters of a smiling me 🙂 We will be doing something along those lines …


@Craig: 🙂

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