‘Duel’ experience welcomed by Halsall ahead of Glasgow 2014

Fran Halsall
Fran Halsall
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Fran Halsall believes the ‘Duel in the Pool’ in Glasgow over the weekend has provided the perfect preparation for the Commonwealth Games next summer.

The World Championships bronze medallist was one of the success stories for a European All-stars team who lost out to Team USA following a tense tiebreaker.

The Tollcross Swimming Centre, which hosted the event, will also be the venue for the 2014 Games and Halsall hopes she will be back in the city and competing for medals.

Reflecting on her efforts, she said: “It was a petty good day, winning the 50m freestyle and winning the freestyle relay.

“It’s great to just race fast and race the best nation in the world at swimming because America obviously are the best nation.

“It’s been a great experience, especially to get the experience of a pool where the Commonwealth Games are going to be next year.

“It’s good to have this experience before we hopefully come back here again next summer.”

Asked if she will be looking for more of the same, she added: “Fingers crossed. I’ve got to qualify first so if that all goes to plan then hopefully.”

The Americans had never lost previous Duels against either Australia or the Europeans but were pushed all the way this time in the two-day event, which saw Europe lead by 68-54 points after day one.

Both teams then found themselves locked on 131 points after 30 events, before Team USA triumphed in a mixed relay tie-breaker, with Halsall part of the European relay team who just missed out.

She said: “We knew it would probably come down to the wire so after the 100m freestyle relay I was really excited and had to calm myself back down.

“I said “coach, I gave that my all, I feel a bit sick” and he was like “No, you can do this, you need to get up for it and get ready”. Then I threw up on his feet.

“When I went in I knew I had to just get my head down and give it my all – and I think we all did.

“The Americans always step up for relays, they are a fantastic team and they really get behind each other. I think we have done the same at this meet, especially considering that we have gone from the European Championships, where we have all raced against each other, to coming here and backing each other.

“It’s been great. It’s been different and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

This clash proved to be a far closer affair than previous Duels, which saw Europe slump to more comprehensive losses in Manchester in 2009 and Atlanta in 2011.

Halsall added: “I think it’s good that we have got closer and closer to them every year, it shows the strength we have in Europe now.”

Middlesbrough’s Aimee Willmott came second in the 400m individual medley.