FRAN HALSALL put the misery of Britain’s surprise failure to qualify for the final of the 4 x 200 metres freestyle relay behind her to progress to the final of the 100m freestyle.
The 18-year-old City of Liverpool swimmer’s time of 53.94 seconds was just 0.01 secs slower than her performance in Wednesday’s heats, when she set a new British record, but it was still enough to earn her a berth in the final as the fifth fastest swimmer.
American Natalie Coughlan set the quickest time in the heats while world record holder Libby Trickett squeezed through in eighth place after China’s Pang Jiaying was disqualified for a false start.
“It was a bit harder than last night,” said Halsall. “After the relay I was physically and emotionally drained so to get in and do another 53-point this morning was great.”
The British team finished ninth overall, missing the final, which was won by Australia in a world record time of 7 mins 44.31 secs.
With Caitlin McClatchy and 400m gold medalist Rebecca Adlington rested for the heats, the tactic represented a major gamble which backfired spectacularly for women’s coach Ben Titley and performance director Michael Scott.
“It was really hard,” said Halsall, who had swum in the heats of the 100m earlier in the same evening session. “It was a good chance of a gold medal for the team.”