Born Apr. 12, 1990 Francesca Halsall, better known as “Fran”, is a professional swimmer from Great Britain. Halsall is a two-time Olympian – she’s a sprinter, specializing in the freestyle and butterfly events. Born in Southport, Halsall swims for Loughborough University and studied at St. Mary’s College, Crosby. Standing 5’8″ Halsall describes herself as “70% professional athlete, 20% krispy kreme addict, 10% rockstar” according to her Twitter.
First international medals
Halsall was just 16 years old when she won her first medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games – she then won gold in the 400m medley relay at the 2006 European Championships. At her first World Championships’ appearance in 2007, Halsall swam all three relays.
In 2008 she qualified for her first Olympic Games, where she made it into the final of the 100m freestyle, finishing eighth overall. Halsall swam six events at her her first Games in Beijing, and she also set the British record in the 100m freestyle.
At 19 years old Halsall finished with a silver medal in the 100m freestyle at the 2009 World Championships in Rome – she finished in a new National Record. She also anchored the fifth-place 400 medley relay. In 2010 she won a total of 10 medals at the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
At the 2012 London Olympics Halsall swam a total of five events – she made the semi-finals of the 100 butterfly, the final heats of the 50m and 100m freestyles, and she also swam on the 400m medley relay and the 400m freestyle relay.
Post London struggle
After struggling with her performance in London, where she finished fifth twice and reached four finals, Halsall had to take time away from the pool. She now works with a sports psychologist, which helps her to see the passion and fun in swimming. She used the Short Course World Championships in Istanbul as a way to find her love for swimming again.
More medals in 2012
She finished second at the 2012 Short Course World Championships in the 50m freestyle, and she brought home a bronze in the same event the following year.
2013 FINA World Championships
Halsall was the only Great Britain team member to earn a medal in Barcelona, with a bronze in 50 meter freestyle.
2014 Commonwealth Games
With her confidence and love of swimming gaining again, Halsall dominated the sprint events in Glasgow finished with gold in 50 meter freestyle and butterfly. She also earned silver medals in 400 meter freestyle and medley relays.
2015 FINA World Championships
In Kazan, Halsall was on top of the podium with her Great Britain team mates in the mixed 400 medley relay in a new world record time. She also reached the finals in 50 meter butterfly and freestyle.
Road to Rio
Halsall qualified for her third Olympics at the British Championships in April. After disappointment in London, she claims that once she wins an Olympic medal, she’ll get a tattoo of the Olympic rings.
A month later and in heavy training, Halsall competed at the European Championships in London, defending her 50 backstroke title as well as golds in 400 meter medley and mixed medley relays. In her other events, she added a silver in 50 meter freestyle and bronze in 50 meter butterfly.