Halsall: Adlington can inspire me to success
FRAN HALSALL hopes Rebecca Adlington's shock swimming gold can inspire her to success in Beijing.
Halsall helped Britain's 4x100m freestyle quartet lower their national record in her first-ever Olympic final yesterday.
She joined forces with Caitlin McClatchey, Jess Sylvester and Melanie Marshall as Britain finished seventh in 3.38.18.
Halsall was the lead off swimmer and handed over with her team in silver medal position.
"I was really pleased with my swim and it shows the kind of shape that I'm in," said Halsall.
"All the girls swum quicker than they did in the heats and that shows the momentum is with us.
"I just love the experience and the atmosphere is amazing. Now I've been in one Olympic final I just want to get into more, I'm greedy like that.
"It's great to have taken so much off the British record and that bodes really well for the 4x200m - which is definitely our best relay at the moment."
Halsall's Olympic experience didn't start that well after she failed to progress through the 100m butterfly heats on Saturday.
But with four other events to come, there was always time to make amends.
"The butterfly was a little disappointing but it was good to get into the pool and get a feel for the whole experience," she said.
"I swum a rubbish first event at the British Championships and finished up having the meeting of a lifetime, so I hope that bodes well for the rest of the week."
Halsall - one of Britain's busiest swimmers - had a rare day off yesterday but was on the pool deck to cheer on Adlington to victory this morning.
"I'm so pleased for Rebecca - we were shouting ourselves hoarse for her," she added.
"It's great for the team that we've won two medals already - and we've got lots of good chances ahead. It's inspirational seeing Rebecca and Jo receiving their medals, I can't wait for my next chance now."
Adlington's gold medal in the women's 400m freestyle was the first triumph by a British woman swimmer since Anita Lonsbrough's win in Rome 40 years ago.
And the news gets even better - this wasn't even her best event, with the 800m freestyle later this week predicted to be her top medal chance.
"It hasn't sunk in - I'm just in total shock," said Adlington.
"You spend your life working towards something like this and dreaming of being Olympic champion. It's just amazing."
Britain hadn't won a women's swimming medal in 24 years but Adlington was chased home by team-mate Joanne Jackson, who claimed bronze in a blanket finish.
Eight years ago our swimmers left the Sydney Olympics without a single medal, prompting one wag to joke - 'at least no-one drowned'.
This morning British Swimming officials were wearing self-satisfied grins - with six days of pool competitions still to come.
Adlington was over a second adrift of silver medalist and hot favourite, America's Katie Hoff, with just 50m remaining.
But she summoned the strength to produce a storming final length - beating Hoff by just seven hundredths of a second in a time of 4.03.22.
"The race was completely different to how we planned but I felt really confident going in," added Adlington.
"I'm not a swimmer who likes to be out the front and I'm naturally suited to back end of the race.
"I couldn't see anyone apart from Katie and I just tried to focus on her - the prospect of gold seemed to give me some extra energy when I really needed it."