sport

Halsall adds to GB medal haul

Fran Halsall and Jemma Lowe claimed silver and bronze medals respectively in Sunday's final session of the World Short-Course Championships.

Great Britain came away with six top-three finishes in Istanbul.

The event concludes a year that had promised so much for the British team for whom expectations had been high - if at times unrealistic - going into the Olympics.

However, just three medals - two by Rebecca Adlington plus a superb breakthrough by Michael Jamieson - has seen the sport in the firing line.

Adlington hit out at British Swimming for not having replaced head coach Dennis Pursley while Michael Scott resigned as national performance director last month leaving two key roles vacant.

It was against this backdrop that the team arrived in Turkey but now they leave encouraged.

Head coach Dave McNulty said: "We've had five good days for British swimming.

"We came here with a lot of other things happening and I said 'look it's time now just to swim' and with six medals in the bag, I am actually over the moon.

"It's a little bit more than I expected to be honest."

London left its scars and while there is no going back, performances in Turkey may have gone some way to healing them.

McNulty said: "I think so. I think some people on the team definitely had things to prove.

"I think that is why they probably signed up for this trip, they set their stall out.

"There are definitely people leaving here who maybe weren't in the BSc place and have left here with loads of confidence for 2013.

"Not just people from the Games, people who have had injuries like Jaz Carlin.

"There are a lot of positives from it really."

The team entered the final session with four medals.

Hannah Miley had won the individual medley double with Olympic silver medallist Jamieson winning a resilient silver in the 200m breaststroke while Lowe had got the ball rolling with 200m butterfly bronze.

On Sunday night, Lowe took another third in the 100m butterfly in a Welsh record of 56.66 seconds.

Halsall then secured an emotional silver in the 50m freestyle in 23.86secs.

It has been a turbulent few months for the 22-year-old who was distraught after she left London without a medal.

Halsall's coach Ben Titley then left Loughborough and replacement James Gibson only recently arrived meaning she has endured a period of uncertainty.

Halsall had not contemplated quitting but had experienced grave self-doubt.

She added: "I didn't question whether I was going to carry on, I questioned whether I was good enough, that was the main thing.

"After the Olympics, I was like 'I am not a good swimmer, I am not as good as I think I am.'

"It was hard to deal with really and I've got a lot of good people around me now like James is so confident in me.

"To have people reinforce that has really helped me.

"I was like 'you know what - I am one of the fastest girls here and I can do this' and it's nice to feel like that again."

Halsall also revealed details of the left shoulder injury which had so impacted upon her Games.

At the end of May, she felt a niggle in her shoulder and from then the Southport-born swimmer experienced intense pain across her chest which prevented her from using her arms in the water and instead she just kicked for five weeks.

So, going into the Games Halsall had had just two to three weeks of full training.

She said: "It was tough but these things happen.

"I wasn't going to use it as an excuse at the Olympics because every athlete is there to do their best, they should be in the best shape they can be.

"It was crap it happened then but if I'd got a medal in London, I might not be here today swimming, I might not have known how fast I can go.

"It could be a blessing in disguise - it is never going to make up for the fact I didn't get a medal at a home Olympics.

"It will always be there but I've got everybody around me now pushing me forward to hopefully put it right in four years time."

Georgia Davies lowered the British record she set on Saturday but missed the podium by just six hundredths of a second in 26.56 to finish fourth in the 50m backstroke.

Eleven-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte finished the meet with nine medals - seven golds, one silver and a bronze.